I am not a feminist. I’m just a guy who wants to help, and who believes strongly in what NCRW is doing. But without more male allies, we risk preaching to the converted and not advancing anything.
Do you invite men to networking meetings or talks about women’s leadership? If you’re like me, you get a notice about an interesting event like The Female Vision and you only think of women who might want to go. Why? We assume men won’t want to come, and that perpetuates the problem.
I’m just back from a family vacation in India where I was struck by the healthy public debates and frequent news hour analyses on the current Women's Reservation Bill that would provide for 33% “reservations” (quotas) for women in parliament and local state assemblies. This is a part of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s larger commitment to laws providing for gender equality in a country where millions of women and their families struggle to live on less than a $1 a day without regular access to food, water, housing, livelihoods, reproductive care or education.
Clearly, this is now a world-wide trend to bring more women into decision making positions in government and corporations. Norway, Spain, Netherlands have already passed legislation that would help to bring 30% to 40% women on corporate boards.
History is a collective story. It is selectively written, representing even unintended preferences of its author, and it is selectively understood, transforming as the mind of the reader practices a sort of cognitive dissonance to contextualize it.
Someday, I want to be a politician or a policy wonk (this, in full nerdy self-disclosure). But when I look around, I dread being regarded as a heartless bitch (Hillary Clinton) or a bimbo (Sarah Palin) because I am visible or powerful.
The truth is, female role models are scarce. The woman most obviously responsible for cracking the political glass ceiling time and again is Hillary Clinton, and, whether she is cast as overly feminine or shockingly masculine, she remains powerful, well-known and female in the political world – not a small feat.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against sports. It’s just that I grew up in a family where the dinner conversation was more apt to involve a debate about the difference between jazz and blues music than a rundown of the latest Knicks or Lakers game. I am the person at the bar who always has to double-check what sport people are talking about when team names are being thrown around. And although I’m happy to join in the conversation, I may have to ask you first what an inning is before I can tell you what inning we are on.