According to the UN, gender equality is still 300 years away.
If you’d asked me 9 years ago when I launched One of Many whether I thought we’d see it in my lifetime, I would have told you no, but I hope in my children’s.
But much has changed in these last years, and honestly things do look bleaker. The secretary general of the UN, Antonio Guterres had stern warnings in his general assembly speech launching two weeks of discussions led by the Commission on the Status of Women.
“Women’s rights are being abused, threatened and violated around the world.
Progress won over decades is vanishing before our eyes. In Afghanistan women and girls have been erased from public life. In many places, women’s sexual and reproductive rights are being rolled back [and] in some countries girls going to school risk kidnapping and assault”.
These are not milestones to be celebrated.
And in these moments of taking stock of progress I find myself wondering, what’s the point?
Here in the UK we work with women to be sustainable in their impact in the world. But so what? So what if one woman stays in her leadership position another year? So what if there’s one more or less woman on a board? So what if there’s one more or less woman-founded business on the planet? So what is one more marriage in the UK or Europe is slightly more equitable than before?
But then I look in at those individual women and the ripple effects can be seen.
Our community is making ripples.
Karen Skidmore’s impact through her small business directly supports The Hunger Project, who trains women leaders in South Asia and Africa.
Karen Davis is coaching more women into positions of leadership inside her organisation of 150,000, and making a name for herself and advocating for women.
Patty Altherr whose tireless dedication assisted dozens of female Afghan mountaineers to seek asylum and safety from the Taliban.
These women are One of many women who care.
There are literally thousands more of your stories that inspire me.
All of these women have day jobs.
All of these women found a way to sustain their energy in their day jobs so they could assist others in the way they feel called.
You see this is the thing…
When you empower a woman to find more energy, to lead, to do it without burning out, she doesn’t use her extra energy to take more holidays and hang about at the spa all day.
She uses it to change the fucking world. Even if it’s only one tiny corner of it.
And we see this mirrored in the developing world. You empower a woman out of poverty, and she’ll bring her entire village with her.
And eventually all these little corners of the world will join up. All these little circles will connect.
This is what I celebrate about women.
And it is your caring that gives me faith.
I find my faith in you- my community. I find my faith in the stories of impact I know you are having.
We have an impact because we care, and we won’t stop caring.
And we won’t stop until it’s done.
And if it takes another 300 years, then I’m in.
I hope it’s sooner. Not just for women, but for our poor, tired world.
As the author, Clarissa Pinkola Estes has said so beautifully
“We were made for these times... Yes. For years, we have been learning, practising, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement.”
I chose this moment.
I chose this plain of engagement.
I’m here, and my whole life has been in training for this chapter of history.
And so did you.
It feels like it’s getting harder.
Guterres put it this way: “The patriarchy is fighting back. But so are we.”
I feel it in my bones, it’s the death rattles of a system in crisis. A system that needs to crumble. But oh, it won’t go down without a fight.
3 years, 30 years, 300 years… I’m in.
So bring it the fuck on.
And thank you for inspiring my faith.
You might also like to read...
- Navigating your financial wellness: 4 nervous system techniques - November 29, 2023
- What is peace really? - November 17, 2023
- The Power of Clarity, Love, and Support in Business Growth - October 5, 2023