The Enigma of the Movement to Empower Women

 

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What do you think is the significance of the movement to empower women?

The Centrality of Struggle

Time and again we see the centrality of struggle in the existence of all living beings. And humankind is definitely not excluded from the process. Recently our hopes were dashed as we descended deeper and deeper into conflict across the globe. Whether it is the broad distress of the Arab world or the appalling malaise of our national politics, we are challenged beyond what we had recently hoped.

One Central Struggle

When I step back, I again and again pinpoint one central struggle which I have come to believe is fundamental. And that is the struggle for the empowerment of women. I know of no research which defines for us the need for its immediacy or how it will lead to an essential outcome. But everywhere we are seeing signs of its importance and steadily perceiving the benefits.

In America we have a war on women. And we have to ask why it is so essential that women be confined and that so many men are willing to work against the independence of women and their opposition includes the availability of reproductive health care which is so central to health care for women. Not once have I heard a definitive explanation nor have I seen illuminating research. In so many cases I am seeing evidence of deep underlying, even unconscious, processes which seem to be at work.

Beyond Power

It is easy to dismiss this entire process as a matter of power. But, nowhere do the possible outcomes suggest that it is purely a matter of men yielding power. Certainly there is a component of power but the explanations are insufficient. There may be duplicity in male opposition and they may defend their own women better than women at large. But the process is all encompassing. It goes beyond reproductive rights including showing up everywhere in the workplace. I’ve never heard an adequate explanation for income inequality.

Struggling for Solidarity

And then recently I found an overlooked copy of Bloomberg Business week from early February. In it was a long article entitled “The Female Solidarity, Have-It-All, Feel-Good Machine”. And in the article they ask, “Feminism is being branded and sold like never before. Who is it really helping?” Throughout the article there are pictures of women attending conferences where men are utterly missing. They describe a struggle to work for empowerment. And it is apparent that the struggle is not strictly against men. Yes, the all male panel speaking to the women is gone but the tone of the article is distressing.

Difficulty Within the Ranks

Maybe I’m missing something. It seems women are not unified which is hardly surprising. Utter unity is missing in all kinds of movements. The Bloomberg article points to a great deal of conflict and uncertainty. Yet, the thing that disturbs me the most is the seeming absence of any effective joint efforts between women and men to work together to define and move the effort forward. Or, at least it is not prominent.

Partnership to Build Partnership

Can it be that men are that unaccepting of the movement that they must be shut out of the efforts? Or can it be that women are sufficiently divided that they must close the discussion or be divided hopelessly? I cannot find any significant explanations or example. This movement is essential but it seems we are groping in the dark. Or is it that we do not know what we are groping for or fear what we might find? It clearly deserves a great deal more discussion.

I realize that this post is a ramble because I cannot find clarity of definition for what is happening. I’m not sure any of us know what the empowerment movement means, where it might lead or why we might fear it so. And by that last statement I mean both men and women.

I would love to see some in depth exploration of the process behind this issue. But beyond all the uncertainty I believe the bottom line is that the empowerment of women is a game changer and crucial to the future of humankind.

What do you think is missing in this movement? Why is the struggle so difficult?

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The Not So Loyal Opposition

 

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For you, what are the implications of the movement to empower women?

Opposing Empowerment

From history it is clear that there are very many people opposed to women being empowered. It was not so long ago that women did not have the right to vote. They had to be brave, march in the streets and insist that they should have such a right. In the 1960s came the women’s liberation movement. In some ways it was not an easy time for women. I recall women dressing in what amounted to men’s suits with ties. That form of dress was (thankfully) abandoned shortly. But we were all finding our way.

There were questions about who would support women being liberated and that included some women. At times it was all so tentative. I recall being at a convention and hearing there was to be a meeting of women about the issues. I showed up wanting to hear what they had to say and a stricken woman politely told me it was for women only. In retrospect I can see how they wanted to consider where they stood and what needed to be done without some male making possibly unwanted input.

Male Subterfuges

And lets face it, whether men will say so out loud, many of them are opposed to women being empowered. And, of course, the question is why they should feel so threatened. Of course, they almost never put it that way. There were simple statements that a woman’s place was in the home, that it was unseemly what women were asking and on and on. Oh please, can we be honest?

Actually, I’m not so sure we can be honest because I think the issues are so fundamental and deep in the human psyche that I’m not sure we can easily be honest.

Such Breadth of Opposition!

And then there are other matters which are related. Recently it has come out that men in football are suffering terrible brain injuries from the brain bouncing around in the skull and from twisting of the brain stem. Suggesting there is a problem seems to be tantamount to taking away their masculinity. But the real point here is something else that came up in one discussion I heard. A couple of former players raised the issue of a player who came out and said he was gay. To put it mildly he was not treated well by his brother players. And then both of the former players commented that they thought the homophobia was simply another form of being antiwomen. I simply can’t respond to that thought in a simple fashion.

Expecting a Backlash

The bottom line here is that there is a lot more than meets the eye. Presently we have a war on women going on in the United States. Efforts are being made to restrict women’s reproductive rights which also relates to fundamental issues of health care. The talk is about opposition to abortion but, not for a second do I believe that is the issue. Women are not supposed to be empowered.

And I fully expect that I’m going to get some nastiness for supporting the movement and I think it will be disguised and, in fact, the men objecting may actually believe what they are saying. This is a very, very deep issue which will require exploration. And this issue is fundamentally underlying my Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy.

I’ll have much more to say and some thoughts about the underlying issues.

How are you expecting the movement for empowerment will play out?

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Roger B. Burt Amazon home page

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Publication Is Coming Soon

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Now that I have the final edit from my editor Carolyn Haley it is a matter of days until Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery – An Unbearable Choice, the first book in the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy is published.

Starting tomorrow I will begin a daily post of six parts of the underlying myth of the series and each will include a thumbnail of a major character. There will be no post this Sunday.

At publication I will put up a page containing the first chapter of the book which can be read on the website. And I will also post a page where a FREE first novella from the book can be requested. All you need do is send me an email requesting the file for the novella.

I also look forward to us beginning a discussion.

Roger