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Sometimes men can help us understand...

I just stepped outside for a few minutes to sit with my husband and son. They were talking about the episode of Cosmos that I wrote about earlier in my post Did you know that the first computer was a room full of women?, saying that if women were granted equal influence in research and discovery, how wonderful the world could be. I said We think differently, and if men and women could work together, how many discoveries could we make that men could not make on their own? The difference in the way we think is not contrary to the thought processes of men, but complimentary to them." Thomas, my husband, said, "Yet how many of those discoveries were actually made by women, but the credit went to a man." Joel, my son, said "Men think women are the 'weaker vessel' because..." and then paused, searching for the word. My husband jumped in, saying "because they don't have the 'killer instinct'. They're all about life." I was just stunned at how this simple statement explains so much of what we go through in this male-dominated world and why mutual understanding, collaboration and cooperation with men can be so difficult.

I quoted a book by Leonard Shlain "The Alphabet versus the Goddess" who said that women are more likely to accept things as they are, while men are more likely to look for ways to change things. As I added Sometimes that's good and sometimes not so good, Thomas jumped in again and said "Yeah, but how many times have we heard of a family getting lost or running out of petrol in the wilderness, and the man tells the family to stay in the car while he goes for help, then the man dies of exposure or is never found, while the family is rescued."

He went on to say that in tribal situations, at least in many tribes in the US and in Australia that we know something about, the chief, a man, would listen to a council of women and would respect their advice and concerns, but they could not speak directly with a council of men because of the discount they would face: "They are weak." The chief knew we are not weak because every new generation of the tribe comes from us and without us there is no more tribe. Therefore he would listen, then translate their words into terms the men could relate to, and the will of the women would be done. We know of tribes in which the women were keepers of secrets that no man in the tribe could know, and the men were okay with that. They KNEW they were not trustworthy with the information and were happy to leave it safely in the hands of the elder women.

We also talked about how a woman's survival instinct is different than a man's because generally speaking it is selfless - a woman will struggle to survive for the sake of her children or someone else who needs her, but in the absence of such motivation she is more likely to accept her demise. In an abusive situation, a woman will often resign herself to her "inevitable" death where a man would be more likely to fight back.

We went on a little more, but this was the heart of the conversation. It made me think two things. One is that, as we struggle to gain equal footing with men in every arena of life, we must not forget our strengths as women. We must not believe the lies that cause men to discount the power and value of women or allow those lies to make us "more like men." We do think differently, and that is a good thing. In our efforts to be heard and to cause our needs to be addressed, let's not become the problem we're trying to solve.

The other is that men can truly be powerful allies who can help us understand the underlying reasons for the attitudes and discrimination we are up against. They can help to translate our views, needs and concerns and communicate them to other men in a way that will cause them to understand, thus helping our voices be heard by those who will not listen to us themselves. And being men, they can help us to effect the change we wish to see in order to improve life for all of us, men and women, sons and daughters alike.

I am truly grateful for the men in my life. Being a part of World Pulse makes me more grateful for them every day as I learn more about the incredible obstacles my sisters here and around the world must overcome to improve life for themselves, their children and each other. When we encounter a man with this kind of understanding we must make sure to let them know how much we appreciate them. We must cultivate these partnerships carefully so we will have allies who realize how important they are to us. The value of men like this in our struggle for equality cannot be measured - they are more precious than gold. I am glad to know that there are men who are active contributors at World Pulse. I hope that they know how very dear they are to us and how much we value their input and assistance. Instilling confidence in our allies and working together, we can make a difference!

Comments

Thank you for letting us into the world of the the wonderful men in your life. I could not stop nodding as I read this paragraph- "The other is that men can truly be powerful allies who can help us understand the underlying reasons for the attitudes and discrimination we are up against. They can help to translate our views, needs and concerns and communicate them to other men in a way that will cause them to understand, thus helping our voices be heard by those who will not listen to us themselves. And being men, they can help us to effect the change we wish to see in order to improve life for all of us, men and women, sons and daughters alike". It is all so true.

The issue of apathy towards women is an age long problem and it will certainly take a while too to change the status quo. I very much agree with you that women need men as allies in the struggle for equality. From experience, I have come to realize that a typical man will always resist any attempt to challenge his authority. Men are very much at home with women who can help them understand that the issue of gender equality is not an attempt to contest a man's authority but a woman's quest to make her own tangible contributions to common progress.

The world will certainly rock when women and men become allies in every sphere of living.

Much respect,
Greengirl

Olanike- I enjoyed your reply as much as the original article! Thanks to you both.

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

hanasazi's picture

She really does have a

She really does have a wonderful way with words, doesn't she? And such a wise soul she is...

hanasazi's picture

The pleasure is all

The pleasure is all mine...And your words are filled with wisdom, too!

Yes, our struggle has gone on for a long time and is likely to continue for a long time too. For that reason men have become accustomed to a certain privileged status which most are not likely to surrender easily. You're right that helping them understand women are not looking for any "special" status or to challenge the status men enjoy, only to have the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with men who share the same qualifications and objectives, and to receive credit for their own accomplishments without being usurped by their male colleagues. We do not seek to threaten them in any way, we only hope to become valued counterparts.

Despite some of the mean-spirited attitudes that came to the fore during the women's rights movement of the 60s in the US (which may have done as much damage as good I'm afraid), for most of us it is not disdain or lack of love for men that causes us to struggle, but the eery absence of support for women when they suffer injustice and violence, and the elevated probability that in one form or another, all of us will experience this. There are so many men who seem unable or unwilling to exercise any self-control, and widespread male attitudes that disregard or discount the differences between us which, if they were valued instead, could make our partnership more powerful and yet more balanced and healthy.

How wonderful would it be if women could bring their own ideas and perspectives to the table with a reasonable expectation of equal funding and support to bring them to fruition, and equal recognition when we succeed?! I agree, the world will rock when we can be friendly allies working together in every arena of life. It's a beautiful vision that fills me with hope for the future, and well worth working toward. Those men who stand with us are precious indeed, for their assistance can help all humanity move closer to this life-affirming goal.

I'm glad you're one of those dedicated to helping women achieve this level of equality in your part of the world, Greengirl. The more I read what you write, the more I see your thoughts are well-balanced and your heart is open. You are a powerful, compassionate and well-spoken young woman (not to mention that you have a great look that together with your other lovely qualities makes you a candidate for front-woman for any cause), and I look forward to being in the front row of a chorus of people cheering you as you accomplish many great things!

Greengirl's picture

Wow!!!!

You never seize to wow me with your superlative words. As regards the matter at hand, I believe a lot of orientation and reorientation needs to happen to help men a understand and appreciate that women are capable partners, when it comes to stirring the wheel of progress. I know too that women can take on this cause and make a success of it. However, the question of achieving equality with men lies in whether women would rather earn it or command it.

I have learned so much from you since we connected and I always look forward to your feedback. Thank you so much Super mum for your very kind and empowering words. I appreciate you for being there to cheer me on. Your support means a lot to me!

One more thing, please I observed that in replying my comment, you posted it as another comment. I sometimes make the same mistake too. To ensure that the person you are replying gets notified when you post your comment, it's best to click the word 'reply' directly under the comment you want to respond to. I only saw your comment because I visited your journal page.

Loads of hugs to you!

Greengirl

hanasazi's picture

" the question of achieving

" the question of achieving equality with men lies in whether women would rather earn it or command it."

There's the key, isn't it? So often women have already earned the recognition they desire, it's in the reluctance of men to acknowledge this that the problem lies. But we shouldn't in our frustration (or desperation) resort to the forceful tactics that can so easily backfire on us. That's not moving forward in our strength. It's better to use our ability to inspire collaboration, to work hard and openly show appreciation for others who do the same, and to really think things through so the brilliance and practicality of the solutions we put forth cannot be denied.

I have appreciated your encouraging words, too. It is so fun exchanging thoughts with you! You are worth every minute (and more!) that I have spent reading and responding to your posts, Greengirl. Not only are you very inspiring yourself, but I sense a very special future for you, and I'm only too happy to offer praises and encouragement for all you are doing now in the hope that it will give you the confidence that will help open doors to the future for you, wherever they may lead.

Thanks for the note on replying rather than commenting, too. Even after reading it, sure enough I found myself writing a reply and had to copy what I'd written and start a reply instead! I'm not sure why I keep hitting that comment button instead of reply even when I fully intend to do the opposite! Reminders are always appreciated, but it's also good to hear that you came to visit my journal!

Hugs and kisses to you, sweet Greengirl! Have a beautiful, inspiring day my friend.
Hannah

Greengirl's picture

Did you see this?

http://worldpulse.com/about/blog/call-for-submissions-picture-partnershi.... You have very inspiring stories about the wonderful men in your lives and I can already imagine the images you would have to share.

Looking forward!

Greengirl

hanasazi's picture

Thanks Greengirl! I might

Thanks Greengirl! I might have a couple of the guys in the kitchen - cooking and washing dishes (bless their hearts!!). They might not hold up to some of the wonderful pictures I've seen submitted already, but I would love to honor them for what they have done to make my business possible.

Greengirl's picture

Can't wait to see your pictures

I bet those pictures will be best sellers. From all the wonderful stories you've shared about their unrivaled support, I respect them a lot. Please tell them that Greengirl says they should keep their heads up high, because it takes men like them to make our world one that is free of prejudice. God bless them for making your world rock, I celebrate them!!

Here's a link to what I shared: http://worldpulse.com/node/89842

Hugs,
Greengirl

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