Oh, don’t worry, this isn’t going to be that technical. Women have always been information managers. What comes into the home and family sphere, what goes out; the interaction of the personal spheres of interaction between larger systems such as commerce, education, religion, and families has been the purview of women. Men have traditionally been more involved with concepts and systems concerned with organizing elements outside of the home such as political and military concerns of the larger community and interactions between communities. At least in the western world this has been the generalized trend until the Industrial Revolution.
Since that time everything has gotten all mixed up. Some places, like America, got the general trajectory correct by working toward equality and democracy while still valuing individual effort and the separation of church and state. The trend in Europe and European influenced countries since the Protestant Reformation has been to move toward a less rigidly hierarchical system through the dismantling of the bundle of religion, governance, and the military into a triumvirate of male authority formalized by the Emperor Constantine and his Nicean Council.
From my perspective, one that is ultimately anthropological, the whirls and eddies of organizational forms in the flow of human cultural history are the norm. Our society is a recent invention that stretches back only a few thousand years. While our culture is much older, the cooperative interaction of governments and social institutions coordinating and regulating the behavior of the citizenry on a global scale is a rather recent invention.
Change, major change, is an option for our society. We know we have to make change if our families are to be able to continue to live well over the next few centuries.
Power does not really exist at least in any way that can be defined as a constant in all human systems. Influence does exist. There are people we listen to, respect, learn from, and from whom we willingly take direction. Coercion can work over the short-term, but over the long haul people act according to their beliefs.
So if women want to change the world, what do we have to do? Simple, we have to act according to our beliefs in the areas in which we have influence. We must speak out about the things about which we care. Just our speaking out, our putting our thoughts out there changes things, others who read or hear you then know they can speak and the cascade can be mind-blowing. Without sharing we cannot find commonality and build a better world from those areas of agreement.
And there is the legacy effect. Documenting women’s actions, thoughts, and dreams in a way that is being preserved for the first time in history will have tremendous influence over future generations.
We must all be the indices or signposts for all those in our spheres of influence. Women’s networks of knowledge have always existed and provided the foundations of informed action and culture in communities, but with our ability to communicate around the globe instantaneously we have broadened the reach of our information and the influence it has as well erecting new signposts for others to discover and use.
Do you appreciate how much influence you have?
Jagoda Perich-Anderson, M.A. says
I certainly do agree that speaking out about things that matter to us is a way to rally the like-minded, form coalitions, work toward change, and leave a legacy. Not to mention build a support network. What is the change or changes you want? You didn’t say. My answer to that question has changed over the years. Nowadays, I’m satisfied if I can effect my circles of influence. Once, I wanted to change all of society to become more egalitarian and tolerant of differences.
Visiting from A to Z.
Jagoda at http://www.conflicttango.com
Nancy Hill says
It doesn’t matter what I want. I’m just happy we are in a position where we women are reclaiming our full and proper influence!