On International Women's Day, 3 examples of creative, inspiring and innovative politics
Happy International Women's Day! It's hard to select from the explosion of initiatives and voices that increasingly surrounds this date (with the #metoo movement against sexual harassment only intensifying the surge this year).
We'll be writing a more considered Alternative Editorial on #IWD at the weekend. But today we've decided to focus on three initiatives that show some of the innovation and creativity, in practices and framing, that can come from a woman-centric politics.
FemmeQ: "When Sleeping Women Wake, Mountains Move"
Founded by three extraordinary women, Alexandra Feldner, Scilla Elworthy and Karen Downes the mission of FemmeQ is to establish feminine intelligence - which both men and women possess - as the key to our social potential and a more sustainable future. Through opening summits (the London one is today and tomorrow, Los Angeles on June 26-27th), networks will be forged that try to develop this understanding, as outlined in the text below:
FemmeQ is the intelligence that enables us to apply our acquired knowledge and skills to address the critical issues we face in the world today. It is the capacity that allows us to be responsible guardians of humanity and our planet. FemmeQ is the intelligence that will make possible the realisation of the 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
FemmeQ is the deep, ancient wisdom that exists in women and in men. A wisdom that protects life, is fair to future generations, and acts on a basis of global inter-connectedness. It is only when these feminine principles are interwoven in all structures that we can truly experience new models of regeneration, trust building and peace.
We invite the emergence of a new level of consciousness where the deepest instincts of the heart in both men and women – compassion, inclusivity, listening and a longing to protect, heal and make whole – find expression in ways that may be described as devotion to all forms of life.
The arrogant celebration of “man’s conquest of nature” is being replaced by the realization that we need to respect, safeguard and cherish the planetary life of which we are a part. This planetary consciousness has radically different aims and values from those reflected in the current worldview.
FemmeQ is the indispensable value that empowers us to create compassionate dialogue, to nurture rather than destroy and regenerate rather than deplete.
The conscious activation of FemmeQ is essential for the future of humanity. This wisdom has been marginalised for centuries and is now rising to its full expression to shape a new world.
Code Pink: 21 Days of Divesting From the War Economy
Code Pink are a women-led grassroots organization, who (in their words) are "working to end U.S. wars and militarism, support peace and human rights initiatives, and redirect our tax dollars into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming programs".
They started in 2002, setting up a four-month vigil in front of the White House, protesting the Iraq war. As they explain, "the name CODEPINK plays on the former Bush Administration's color-coded homeland security alerts — yellow, orange, red — that signaled terrorist threats. While Bush's color-coded alerts were based on fear and were used to justify violence, the CODEPINK alert is a feisty call for people to 'wage peace.'"
Their emphasis is on " joy and humor", and their tactics include "satire, street theatre, creative visuals, civil resistance, and directly challenging powerful decision-makers in government and corporations. And of course, wearing pink!"
Their current campaign - which you can sign up to here - is titled 21 Days of Divesting From the War Economy". As explained below:
How do we end war? War serves the war economy, the literal culture that we live in. It's a culture of violence and scarcity, of alienation and fear. How aware are we of how this culture impacts our hearts and minds, and our habits and behaviors?
Economy from the word in Greek is to manage home. The current management of our home - the way we take care of place and each other - is destructive, extractive and oppressive. It calls our behavior to be transactional and not relational. It privatizes what should be free to all. It thrives on us feeling alienated, frightened and that we live in a world of scarcity instead of abundance.
Join us for "21 Days of Divesting From the War Economy" to explore where the war economy might not be serving your life, and share ways that we can all reinvest our time, heart and energy to create conditions conducive to life.
WOW - Women of the World: London and norwich
Under the direction of Jude Kelly, the South Bank Centre in London has become a zone for genuine cultural and human development. And perhaps its biggest legacy is going to be "WOW - Women of the World" , a festival event which is now extending across the globe, and to which Kelly will now be devoting her entire time (see this interview).
The London event seems to be sold out, but WOW's next stop is in Norwich - with the tickets on sale today. Here's the mission statement:
WOW – Women of the World festival celebrates women and girls, and looks at the obstacles that stop them from achieving their potential.
Around the world, individuals and communities are insisting on the simple proposition that women and girls must have equal rights and asking the question: why is gender equality taking so long?
Jude Kelly adds (from her Guardian interview):
“I’d always been a feminist, but I’d reached a point where I looked at the amazing things I was curating and thought, ‘The reality is, the majority of the canon is created by men, and if the culture keeps on reiterating over and over again this idea that creativity is male, then it permeates absolutely everything else. And you have to do something. Saying you’re a feminist is not enough.”
Eight years on, the world is catching up with Kelly. The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements are bringing a global focus on feminism not seen in decades, and Kelly is well aware that this year’s festival in London in March will attract unprecedented interest. “To be able to say: ‘Here’s a vehicle for many different people from many different backgrounds to debate and be creative and have fun’ – that’s a very handy thing to offer.”