These are dark days for those of us who believe in democracy, social justice, environmental stewardship/protection, and connectivity. A rise in authoritarian rulers – from the U.S. to pockets of Europe to Turkey and beyond – are threatening the values upon which democracies are founded.
Nevertheless a counter force grows daily. A force that both rises up in the streets in peaceful protest and brings success at the ballot box in electing progressive candidates. And at the forefront of these movements for a just world based on values of love and cooperation are women. Women who have been oppressed for millennia; women who only in the last 100 or so years were granted the right to vote in Europe and the USA; women are making our voices heard. Despite the backlash against women’s rights aimed at taking women back to the days of botched abortions and lack of education and jobs, women are breaking free of their shackles and stepping into leadership roles in greater and greater numbers every day. Once more the truth of Libana’s Goddess chant, “There’s a river of birds in migration, a nation of women with wings.” is revealed.
While both feminine and masculine values, traits and aspects are needed for a balanced world the masculine traits of assertiveness, competitiveness, ambition, and desire for material success, have gained supremacy during the long, long reign of patriarchal religious and economic systems. Women’s values, characteristics and ideals have been denigrated as valueless or have even been classified as pathological. Left unchecked and coupled with ever increasing technologies, male values lead to greater and greater domination, greed, exploitation and corruption.
Still one might ask, “Will it make any difference if women gain political and economic power?” Research suggests that it will. As Annie-Rose Strasser said in a post from 2013, “When women aren’t outnumbered by men, they tend to speak up more for the needs of the vulnerable and advocate for the social safety net.” Yet the research shows that for women’s values to become policy there needs to be an equal number of male and female lawmakers in office. Currently only a small percentage of women hold political office, making up about 20% of lawmakers in the US and Europe. 2018 just might be a game changer – witness the recent primary wins, ousting incumbents, of progressive candidates Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York, and Summer Lee and Sara Innamorato both in Pennsylvania. And once parity in group situations is achieved, women accurately represent their own interests and influence their male colleagues to agree with them.
The tools of the 21st century gifted to us by the internet – connectivity, access to knowledge, access to each other – are being embraced by women around the world. With these tools women are taking charge of their economic futures and taking leadership surrounding environmental and social justice issues. And of course the Me Too movement continues to grow as women say a resounding “No!” to sexual abuse and rape, claiming power over their own bodies. Perhaps future historians will name this century the “Century of the Woman.”
Of course there have been and still are women in power positions who can out-man any man. These women have embraced the masculine traits and values to the exclusion of their own innate feminine ones. Yet as Marie Balshaw, Director of the Tate Museum says, “there is really interesting research that shows women tend to make more holistic decisions and I think that’s because the burden of feeding and raising children and looking after the domestic environment falls mostly to them.” The question remains with parity. Once parity is achieved women will be free to use their own natural values and help men to honor their feminine side and values.
A perfect storm of rising autocratic regimes allowing a return to extreme patriarchal control coupled with climate change and instability, if left unchecked, could ultimately result in a total breakdown of society – perhaps even rendering our world uninhabitable for the human species. Only by recognizing the importance of women’s values of love and cooperation and then bringing those value into parity with masculine values of assertiveness and ambition can we return to a world in balance. Now is the time for us all to raise our voices and take a stand for the integration of feminine values into our political and economic systems. Never forget the “butterfly effect” of chaos theory in which small changes in one state of a dynamic system can result in a large change in a later dynamic system. Who knows – perhaps one small act such as showing compassion to a homeless person or attending a peaceful protest or urging one more person to vote- will be just the act that ripples through time and creates the change we all so desperately need and desire.
Here are links to just a few recent actions taken by women and groups dedicated to speaking out for change:
Woman are marrying trees
Women Speak Out
Women’s March 2018
Women Stand for Social Justice
Guardians of the Planet: 15 Women Environmentalists You Should Know
Judith’s deck of Celtic Goddess Oracle Cards is available now. You can order your deck on Judith’s website. Experience the wisdom of the Celtic Goddesses!
Judith Shaw, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, has been interested in myth, culture and mystical studies all her life. Not long after graduating from SFAI, while living in Greece, Judith began exploring the Goddess in her art. She continues to be inspired by the Goddess in all of Her manifestations. In recent years Judith became very interested in the Goddesses of her own ancestors, the Celts. She is now working on her next deck of oracle cards – Animal Guides. Originally from New Orleans, Judith makes her home in New Mexico where she paints as much as time allows and sells real estate part-time. Give yourself the gift of one of Judith’s prints or paintings, priced from $25 – $3000.