News Flash: Just because we are women doesn’t mean we share the same brain or hold one common political belief system – but some ill-informed people might think we do.
When Marine Le Pen of France lost the French presidential election and Hillary Clinton failed to become the President of the United States you could hear and read opinions that centered around women who didn’t support these candidates. What followed were statements like, Women Against Women, Women Hate Other Women, Women Beware Women.
I get so v-e-r-y tired of this BS.
Informed people, regardless of their gender, vote based primarily on their personal values. They protest or support causes that directly impact their life, work, community or country. It is entirely possible to take a vagina or penis out of the equation and simply set out to elect a leader.
Now, follow me on this one because it might be hard for some of you who believe that a woman is against women if she doesn’t vote for one….GROW UP!!!
In an attempt to move us further away from divisive and simplistic comments about women I would like to offer this:
So, is it a little clearer?
If I vote for a man, that doesn’t mean I gave up my membership to womanhood. If I protest against a leader – who happens to be a woman – that doesn’t mean I hate her or that I’m against women, I simply don’t agree with the parties’ policies.
For many of us who have been in our fields for a long time it is possible to become complacent and feel as if we’ve seen or know it all. It is for these very reasons that I feel compelled to put myself in situations where I can challenge or affirm my understanding of our world, the role of work or establishing why we are the way we are.
In the last year I have participated in three very powerful events that impacted my work and to be quite honest also influenced my perception of people, resources and tools that are often associated with the helping professions – including my own.
At times I feel like a child who is learning something new and I am so proud to have grasped the concept. Other times what I’m participating in causes me to reevaluate so much of what I thought I knew.
In my experience the times when I felt the power of learning so profoundly was when I registered for things that appeared to be beyond my expertise. Sticking within my own wheelhouse is comforting as I can expand on what I know already and feel affirmed by my right answers. But, when I put myself outside of my familiar zone that’s a whole other sensory experience.
In the last year I have had three mind opening events come my way that I am grateful for and I want to share this with you.
The first was an online symposium on Translating Aboriginal Traditions to Employment. Without going into the specifics I just want to share how hearing the stories of those that participated impacted me not only on a professional level by also on a spiritual level.
I had taken cultural training courses and spent many years working with people from all over this country and world. Having sensitively to cultures comes with the territory – or so we think. But really I believe I have been naive to so many aspects of tradition and its role in employment. The sharing of stories surrounding residential schools, culture, community, ceremony, family and trauma were gifted to all of us and so our learning went far beyond employment.
Next I attended a conference on Ending Violence. Again the presenters expanded my understanding of the impact of violence while providing useful tools and resources that far exceeded my expectations.
For the last two days I attended a workshop facilitated by Dr. Lori Haskell – Working with Survivors of Gender-Based Violence: Understanding the Neurobiology of Trauma. I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly valuable this was! What I learned will positively impact my work with clients who have experienced trauma but it also hit close to home. I took away information that changes how I view myself and others in my personal life. The learning went deep, not just through the speaker, but also I had the privilege of learning from those that were at my table.
Does it feel like you are living in tough times right now? Do you personally have doubt about your ability to cope with challenges in your life? Did you know that your doubt can help open the door to more critical thinking?
Tough times bring multiple things into focus and for many their first instinct is to hope it all goes away. Doubt emerges on a cognitive level but on an emotional level our lack of belief doesn’t need to be debilitating.
Doubt can be the next motivator and an opportunity to strategize. How? Well, I will give an example:
I took a course once that was really tough. I questioned why I was even doing the course and doubted my ability to complete it. Armed with multiple reasons why I was not a good student, and a history of procrastination to wear as a badge, I believed it was going to be impossible to get assignments done.
Slowly but surely I pulled in support from various people who would help me stay on track. I looked for examples in my own life when I overcame an obstacle or challenged myself to do something I had never done before. My strategy was to plug away on the easier content and assignments first and build up my confidence to tackle the next level. Before I knew it I was done.
Doubt helped me to look critically at myself and encouraged me to find internal and external resources. The opportunity to know more and to believe that my narrative could change from being an average struggling student to a graduate of a program, opened up my awareness of what is possible.
Doubt has a purpose and we should acknowledge its role in our personal development.
As I watched the first British Columbia Election 2017 debate with Green Leader Andrew Weaver, Liberal Leader Christy Clark and NDP Leader John Horgan I was reminded why I didn’t explore Politics as a potential career path. BC’s Provincial Election has kicked off and with that comes campaign strategizing, back stabbing, hand shaking, fake smiling and noise making.
There is no doubt this is a big job representing the people, developing and amending policies and programs – among other things. Any decisions made can be felt far and wide and boy do we feel it! When it comes to politics it takes a special breed of people to run for election and an even stronger contingent of people willing to put their trust in their representative.
Truth vs. Fiction and The reality of certain decisions
I believe most legislators don’t have an understanding about what is really happening at the ground level. That is because they are reliant on individuals willing to contact their offices and they receive stats and second-hand information from representatives who oversee programs on behalf of the government. It’s hard to be everywhere.
In my industry alone so many of the governments decisions have negatively impacted the working environment – resulting in more workers leaving our industry and/or increased leaves of absence. It has most certainly impeded services to clients but you won’t hear a peep about that.
Instead a glowing shout out by Premier Clark about job creation will override the reality that people fall through the cracks in employment services every day. Through this current numbers driven model of service many in our industry will argue that we Don’t have the luxury of placing people first – especially when it comes to supporting those who need it most.
Fudging numbers and spinning stories is what makes for interesting campaigns and if we don’t know better we’ll assume what our representatives are saying is the truth. The real truth is that politicians likely know – or learn rather quickly – that facts are buried in between fiction. They have figured out that people vote based on their own values and immediate needs and pay basic attention to everything else.
Sometimes it’s so hard to know what is going on and other times it’s glaringly obvious
In this debate I heard repeated reference to the NDP in the 90’s which doesn’t mean much to me now. I believe every individual, party or company has the ability to evolve so why dredge up the past…show me what you got for 2017 and beyond!
The Green party keeps talking about corporations as if they are the bad guys. Not all corporations are bad. Yes, keep them under control as it pertains to political influence but remember corporations provide jobs and aren’t we all grateful for that? Corporations donate to various charities so would you prefer they make less and therefore contribute less? Why not choose partnerships with innovative and responsible corporations so that you can spend less time mining my pocket to pay for things?
Here’s where I might offend a few people: I don’t think every taxpayer should have to pay for childcare. I have always felt that if you bring a child in this world you better be prepared to take care of it for the long-term. Of course, if you become a single parent raising children or the primary financial contributor to the home loses employment then that is a different story. The unforeseen often dictates changes – support should then be made available. Here again is where I think we need to be more innovative in our approach to such issues and assessment of need can be a part of that approach.
Polls, Trolls and Tripe don’t help much
Politicians on the campaign trail have still not understood that a large majority of voters hate negative campaigning. Although as we have seen south of the border, and in previous Canadian campaigns, mud slinging can happen. Getting out to vote should be made more attractive as we can’t take anything for granted.
My advice to candidates
John Horgan – Shut down the 90’s talk right away if anyone mentions it and share very clearly how the party has grown and will proceed. It’s not so much your personal reputation or presentation you have to worry about its the past mistakes that linger. No matter what you say that is the hurdle you face.
Christy Clark – Stop relying on “job loss and kids future fund being depleted” as a threat if we vote for someone else. Give me a better reason to trust in your ability to know what’s really happening to people like seniors, youth at risk and persons with disabilities along with the infrastructure of this province.
Andrew Weaver – You are talking too fast. Slow it down, stop saying “we have a plan” and find a way to spell it out better in the short time you have. Don’t dump on corporations because you are losing a whole host of voters that way. Find a way to make Green a word that doesn’t make people think the economy will be negatively impacted. We already know the environmental piece, focus listeners on other issues of importance.
As we head into the Easter weekend I am reminded of a tradition my family held well into our adulthood – The Annual Easter Egg Hunt! I wish I could say that it was respectful, polite and all that wonderful stuff but really it always turned into a near blood bath sport. Highly competitive – and driven to get out months of pent-up energy – my sisters and anyone else brave enough to join in would run around the house looking for those little chocolate eggs.
Crashing into furniture, falling down stairs, executing last-minute dives that resulted in an elbow to someone’s face were all part of the crazy hunt. The person who was victorious didn’t savour the moment gracefully but instead held their bounty close and recounted every detail of events that led to their win. Does this sound like the spirit of Easter to you? Probably not.
Through it all we laughed so hard. I know there were moments that were out of hand but it still brings a smile to everyone’s face when we remember those days. We are much older now (not necessarily more mature) and getting together has become more difficult. I know none of our bodies could take that kind of punishment anymore.
When I think of Easter that is where my mind goes. I don’t remember the meals, the weather or conversations, but I do remember running with abandon and laughing all the way to find what the Easter Bunny so kindly left for our enjoyment. Oh, if only I could turn back the hands of time.
Couldn’t help but share this picture of my cousin’s dog caught in his favourite carpet. Yes, there will be days like this but thankfully someone will come to help when we get all tangled up.
Happy International Women’s Day! The significance of International Women’s Day may be different depending on where you live, how old you are and how you are treated but its value is not diminished.
According to the Oxford Dictionary EQUALITY is, “The state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.”
Do you feel that as a woman you have attained equality? OR If you are a man reading this blog post, Do you think that the women and girls in your life have equal status, rights and opportunities?
It is because of the obstacles still positioned in front of women that such an event becomes important. History – as we are taught – has not been very good at recording the stories of women. Their role in the development of our countries has been largely ignored. With this in mind, the organization of women has become necessary since the early 1900’s.
We do have so much to celebrate in life but this is one day when women can feel less alone with their challenges. It is good to honor each other and those that came before us.
There was a time when a women’s appearance in a public space was mostly limited to being on the arm of her man. Oh, have the times changed.
There are those that will question why we would need to gather and celebrate women.
It is because their achievements – despite what has been stacked against them – need validation. It is because the faces we see today may inspire the next generation of women to reach their full potential. The testimony we hear today may shape tomorrows laws. There can be one defining moment in a girls or woman’s life when she feels most powerful and it might be TODAY that such an experience occurs.