Change makers for equality for women

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By Marcia Barhydt

There’s an extraordinary new group of women coming together to lend their visibility and wisdom to all of us women boomers. The name of this group is Makers and their name refers to a three-hour documentary for PBS called MAKERS: Women Who Make America.

Their ranks include some very high profile women — Hillary Clinton, Gloria Steinem, Condoleezza Rice, Marlo Thomas, Barbara Walters, Oprah. And with only slightly lower profiles, Roe vs. Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington, First Female Justice at the Supreme Court Sandra Day O’Connor, Tennis Ace Billie Jean King, Stewardess Fighting Discrimination Dusty Roads, Xerox CEO and first woman member of the Augusta Golf Club Ursula Burns. Plus many “ordinary” ground-breaking women confronted with what equality means in their own lives.

From the program’s website: “MAKERS: Women Who Make America will tell this remarkable story for the first time in a comprehensive and innovative three-hour documentary for PBS, to air in early 2013. Built on the extraordinary archive of stories already completed for MAKERS.com, the film will feature the stories of those who led the fight, those who opposed it, and the unintentional trailblazers — famous and unknown -– who carried change to every corner of society.”

So, what does this group do for us, for you and me? To start, at the very least they bring their own brand of equality for women and at the very most, they bring their high profile to lend credibility to their message in the documentary. The more visible equality is for women, the more this equality filters down to all women, particularly Boomer Women who are having some dynamic influences of our own in our own small circles.

These women, this documentary, both are highlighting the remaining imbalance of the roles women take on today. The women individually are inspiring, and collectively they are a steam roller for equality in allfacets of our lives.

I’m old enough to have witnessed the original Feminist Movement in the 1960s when feminism became mainstream for female boomers. Between the impact of the issues and the huge size of the female boomer population, the message of equality spread quickly, often aided by some evening news story of yet another bra burning. We fought for and often won a new vision of equality; not always, but often.

I’m also old enough to have gushed with excitement when I met Gloria Steinem in 2007 as I covered a luncheon fundraiser for a local women’s shelter. Between gushes, I said, “You spoke to me; you spoke to all of us.” Ms. Steinem replied, “And there are still so many to speak to, so many that we still have to help.”

Makers and their documentary will, I believe, bring the concerns of today’s boomer women to the forefront once again, just as they did in the 60s. But today we’ll be adding our forty more years of experience to our cause and to our voices.

 

A MELANGE OF MISCELLANY Ten Timeless Observations from a Timeless Woman

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In the past year, I’ve written a number of articles for Mimi Magazine, which has morphed beautifully into Timeless Woman. Writing those articles has made me aware of the vast quantities of knowledge that we have, now that we’re celebrating the better half of our lives.

These are a few of my observations, thoughts, ponderings and rants.

1. We can choose now to unlock our doors. I’ve learned that opening my own doors, becoming receptive to the events, happenings, challenges and even the threats ‘out there’, has given me a vast spectrum of experiences to embrace or to reject, as I chose. But no matter what my choice, I’m now able to allow myself the experiences of these choices.

2. We have the time now to be aware, observe, even embrace life’s serendipities.

I now seem to be able to make the time to allow serendipity into my day, should it knock. And to make the time to be in the moment with that serendipitous event for as long as it wants me there. Now, I see serendipity as the beginning of infinite possibilities.

3. We’re closer to finding that elusive ‘balance’ in our lives than ever before. Change your life to reflect scheduling as unnecessary, to prioritize yourself and your family as number 1 in importance, to find time to sit quietly alone in a dark room, to live in the moment rather than worrying about the next crisis.

4. We need to stop judging ourselves for our past.  I no longer judge myself or accept others judgments of me. I celebrate at 65 with a hindsight that allows me to accept myself as the mother I was at 40.

5. We cannot tolerate and we must stop ageism. If we realize now that jokes about people from other heritages are racist and discriminatory; if we realize now that jokes about other religions are intolerant and discriminatory, if we realize now that jokes about the opposite gender are sexist and discriminatory, then why don’t we realize that jokes about older women are ageist and discriminatory?

6. We seem to be finally understanding that our beauty comes from inside us. I like to think that whatever colour I choose for my hair will look great, because I now have the ability to see what really counts in the way I look. Colour does not make a bad hair day. Frame of mind does.

7. We can now accept, live with and be proud of our bodies. We are comprised of so very much more than our bodies, and I believe it’s essential that we embrace that thought as we move ahead. My beauty neither starts nor stops with the shape or condition of my body. My beauty is in my soul and in my mind and in my heart. And I will still believe that I’m beautiful on my 90th birthday.

8. We can choose to nourish our sensual, sexual sides. I’m not so naïve to think that both male and female sexual dysfunction isn’t a very real thing with some very real repercussions. When the day comes for me to consider this personally, then I’ll probably be less outraged about the concept of chemically engineering my libido than I am right now. Frankly, I’ll probably be beating down the door to my own doctor’s office when this happens and dragging my partner behind me too.

9. Just because we’re older, it doesn’t mean we’re ‘seniors’. We all know people who are old at 30 just as we all know people who are young at 90. It’s a state of mind, isn’t it? We need to stop our perceptions in their tracks. We need to stop painting with a broad brush. We need to see each person as the individual she really is.

10. We have no other support equal to the support of our sisters. We’re there for each other. That’s what women do. I think this is a uniquely woman thing. And I think I am so lucky to be a woman, to experience this support. In our lives, other people come and go, life events occur and evolve; even the men in our lives can change. But these women are constant. Never changing. Always there for us.

 

© Marcia Barhydt 2008