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The Perfect New Year

The most luxurious things in my life have been the help from other women, the true and open love from the ones I love and the understanding smile from my boss when I messed up. It seems that women (myself included of course) need to be perfect in every possible way. Being the perfect wife, the perfect sister, mother, worker and oh, hostess… leaves almost no room for being the perfect “me”.

But even being so, most of us do get away with being "perfect". We always try harder, work harder, stay longer, and live for our families, no matter what kind of odds we face. Someone has dared to call us "multitask women". Ironically, this is not the term most of us would like to use. We may prefer plain words like "mom", "sis", or "honey" and "sweetheart", which do not give the impression of being "multitaskers".

We know that we have opened Pandora's box when we called out for feminism. We know that men are the real winners of that rally, because once again they are the ones who end up having the praise for the better outcomes at work, and we are held accountable for the bad grades of kids, the dirty homes and the poor nutrition of newborns.

But none of us complains about this because for every issue we hold in our shoulders, we have gained a new liberty. For example, there are men searching for a woman to support them economically, but in return we have opened new jobs for women who need them, regardless of their marital status. Or in the case of women in the media, it is true that women are under represented, but we have come a long way since the times when you needed to be a man to host a show that was not of "feminine" nature (read cooking, fashion or sex). We have gained spaces in editorials, many of us have created shows that are an example to the rest of the community, and we have earned respect for our opinion in many media outlets.

So, when I make a balance of what we have gained and lost, I would rather,of course, be here than in the past, when our grandmothers had to stay home and clean and take care of kids only. I think that even then there were women who stood out from the crowd, working and delivering education and good homes, just like today.

But one more time, in this new year I have to admit that we have a long way to go. In most countries we are still being abused, lessened, belittled, and even assassinated by our male partners. Our homes are not, in some or many senses, "shrines of equality", and we need to work that out.

Let us rejoice on what we have accomplished as a global collective, but let us not forget that the road has not been easy, as it will not be easy to continue on it. Let us think before we speak, let us speak before we are abused, let us stop before accepting violence, let us search for positive ways of being firm and respected without accepting violence. Let us be peaceful, yet firm and responsible for our own well being.

We need to thrive for non violent environments at our homes. Let us think about this every time a man shouts at us to remind us how "bad" we are, just to lessen us. Let us know he is being violent when he speaks louder than us to get his ways, something we should not open ourselves to. Let us stop him from taking away our daughter's feminine side. That is also a kind of violence. Let us find a way to make our daughters see how much easier their lives will be if they align in the feminine way of doing things that mom can teach them, instead of trying to be like dad.

Let us find our own ways, let us do it armored only with love and laughter. Smiles are free, we should give them away throughout the next year. Let us imagine ourselves as conquerors fighting for our freedom of speech, our freedom for living the lives we want to live. I wish that Christmas’ good feelings are kept alive during the new year. I wish that the hope that the birth of Jesus brings into our lives, becomes the permanent reminder that God is with us, then, who will go against us?

In the picture, three generations of women gathered for Christmas.

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Comments

Jackie, dear

Happy all new years to come, for you and your beloved.

Your end-2009 wish is worth entire books. It's specially precious because come from you, who have lived that all personally.

So, thank you!

"Perfection", may it be a consequence? I mean, I see it pops up as all spontaneously try "doing the best possible" to the benefit of as many people in the same time as possible. Spontaneity means "free", too, and free things are assumed a granted right, like water, like oxygen.

We need possibly more, and more again, of this "gifting" - the planet relies on it after all. This all should be valued, and placed in a general perspective.

True, men win to date. They are very good salesmen. But: are they so really infinitely powerful as they pretend to be? And, what is "power"?

Sometimes, quite often to say the truth, at lunch-time I and my colleagues happen to speak of children, and how to educate them. You know much better than me, but it's really a tough issue in these time. One in our clique, mother of two boys entering adolescence right now, is facing the direst problem. To encourage them being complete, respectful, responsible and nurturing people, and possibly condemning them being victims in future of ruthless people? Or make them just that, ruthless, limited and selfish jerks?

The answer is not easy. Especially, if it is framed the usual way, assuming "the toughest always wins".

Then you reflect, and discover the usual way is not that usual after all. "Winning battles" does not ensure surviving in the long term. Nor it means being and growing strong. To date, in my view, for men to be strong largely means being sensitive and respectful - that is, able to evolve independently of the flock, and courageous enough to not retreat in front of others' heart wide open (as often happens). Mere low-level bravery is not any longer sufficient in a world where often the "adventurous fieldpeople" are me and the lady I've mentioned (that's interesting, by the way).

In my view, one of the biggest problems of our World is it has "removed the feminine". First of all, giving it a name and compartmentalizing it. Then, devaluing.

We humans all, men and women, are genetically built to be deadly predators, but also (and more important) nurturers and loving.

So, any society may try hard to suppress or tame "less important" our basic biological functions, but its efforts will end in nothing (if the species survives, of course).

Maybe, today, the toughest issue is "educating boys". Girls are in some way more "predictable", in the good sense. The big problems they face can, I think and strongly hope, be addressed with passion, example, patience and love. Providing access and support. But in the end, "all what we need doing to them" is encouraging them to blossom, and become complete independent persons. "Easy task", after all: a self-solving problem. And after the mission of our generation is accomplished, they will spontaneously take our place.

Boys, on the other side, seem to me a tougher issue. With the current social pressures I feel they are in danger of evolving into fragile, weak, angry status-obsessed beings. Insecurity triggers violence, and too much of it is here now.

They need roles, good and real. Frontiers (and many of these are just here - the problem seems to me we don't see them in the moment). What else?

Guess partnership with good and courageous men is necessary.

In the moment, as yo say, let's go ahead, armored of love and laughter. Let's the Birth of Jesus inspire and guide. And, I wish, let's also recover a bit of Artemis ;-)

A warm hug

Mauri

jap21's picture

You are so right

First of all, let me tell you that your 2010 will be prosperous, magical, peaceful, happy, healthy and love-ly. You shall see.

About the gifting, it is so true that we take many things for granted, especially the most important ones. One of the things we take for granted also, is the ability to be good parents. We don't need to be superstars, but at present times, we need to improve our parenting through studying. Don't laugh. Setting limits is an everyday practice that parents have done through violent ways since a long time ago, and this is where the mess begins.

Setting the right limits in non violent ways is not hard, but it is an art that needs to be learned. Creative speaking is another approach to setting limits without using violence. But boys are always harder to educate, though. They give a lot of war. But at the end, when they end up being jerks, there is another woman who almost always takes over: the wife. Yes, believe it or not, when the mother fails, the wife needs to re educate the man. When she fails, divorce is the only choice.

The biggest problem nowadays is that women don't want to take over that task, as they themselves have no limits either. Sad but true. The other problem is that women are so into work that it is not easy for them to see the problem and solve it. This way we end up with (raise your eyebrows), 70% of marriages broken in the first two years.

As for men, they have it easy. They shout louder and punch the lady of the house and when they leave, the woman usually takes over both jobs (mom and dad's), which is not fair for the kids, but is even worse for the woman. The answers to these problems are not easy, but we need to talk about them, we need to work them out.

As long as we keep looking away about the issue of empowering families, the problem will only grow bigger. It is of utmost importance to begin putting this issue in the public agenda and the media must plaly a role in this. Let us see what we can do from here to encourage participation, dissemination, and discussion of these matters.

Hugs dear friend!

PS I read about Artemis, I really liked the article. I didn't know of her, so to tell you the truth I haven't formed an opinion just yet. Will tell you when I do.

I've been really busy with my family visiting me for christmas, for the first time in 25 years! It was quite a happening.

Love,
Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

jadefrank's picture

Holidays

Hi Jackie,

I hope that you enjoyed the holidays with your beautiful family! How amazing for your daughter to have such strong female role models in her life. Thank you for reminding us of the road we've traveled in creating opportunities for women, the burdens we face and the journey ahead for ensuring that women's voices are not only heard, but respected and valued. And I always appreciate your emphasis on non-violence - which I hope can be a trend for change in 2010.

Happy New Years to you dear Jackie! I am so looking forward to meeting you face to face in 2010!

Hugs,
Jade

jap21's picture

Hi Jade

Me too! I am thrilled to make this dream come true, and shake the world with the amazing women that are together in this.

Love,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

Juana Munoz's picture

Hi Jackie

I loved your message and agree with Mauri in that more people should think like you do. I've noticed a tendency amongst colombian feminists to behave like men, in an attempt to prove themselves worthy and capable they leave behind everything that is feminine, even female. Males and females are different, that is almost imposible to question. The solution is not to become one mixed sameness but to aknowledge address our differences as such and not as weaknesses or flaws.

Un saludo de año nuevo muy especial para ti y tu familia, oajlá esté lleno de amor y paz!

jap21's picture

Hi Juana

I am glad you enjoyed reading my article. It is true that many feminists take on a very strange way for themselves. Hopefully it will not be like that with most of us. I call them extremists and all kinds of extremes, in my opinion, are rude and violent, including eating chocolates or going to the church too much, hehe.

We need to put both our feet on earth and relize that we need the new generations to be good parents, but specially we need the existence of GOOD MOTHERS. I am guessing you are single, so please share the article with your other single friends, they might like it and begin thinking about how having in mind the feminine side of us will benefit humanity as a whole, as we are the best (sorry for the lack of modesty, but women really are the best, hehe).

Gracias por los buenos deseos para este año! Deseo lo mismo y mucho más para tí. Especialmente te deseo un año mágico, lleno de milagros que hagan tu vida hermosa cada día de 2010.

Abrazos querida nueva amiga. Y porfa, date una vuelta por 100% hispanas, que es un grupo que necesita voces como la tuya para volver a vivir. Hace tiempo que nadie escribe nada, jiji.

Otra vez abrazos,

Jackie

Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva
Tarija - Bolivia
South America
www.jap21.wordpress.com

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