Badass Ladies Blazing the Path to Gender Equality

Happy Living | Blog“Change itself goes from the unthinkable, to the impossible, to the inevitable… but someone has to move it along.”
(Laura Liswood[1])

The inner drive of the human spirit has amazing power within it. Deep conviction gives a person incredible strength to accomplish things that seems beyond others’ reach. Listening to their hearts helps people overcome the forces of gravity that seem to hold a life in place. And here’s the best part: Inner drive, deep conviction, and the power of the heart are evenhanded. They can be used by all of humanity: Young and old; rich and poor; the city worker and the rural farmer; employers and employees. A person can call on them in good times and in bad. These universal powers work for people of every race and ethnicity, and in every region of the world. And they are gender neutral.

Inspired by #5050

In her film 50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present, and Future of Women + Power, Emmy-nominated filmmaker & founder of The Webby Awards, Tiffany Shlain explores the 10,000-year history of women and power and asks, “Where are we really on the greater arc of history of women and power? And what’s it going to take to get to a 50-50 world, not just in politics and board rooms, but truly shifting the gender balance to true equality for women.”

Tiffany’s film is a powerful story of the long road towards gender equality. It’s about women who have dismissed the untruth of scarcity they’ve been taught to believe by the culture and societal norms, and by men, and instead shifted to the inner belief of abundance that they felt within themselves when they listened to their hearts and blazed new paths forward. It takes an abundance of courage to be a trailblazer. It takes an abundance of inner drive to fight against the enormous gravitational forces of cultural norms and expectations. Blazing the path to true equality takes women of significance, bravely following their hearts and doing the work they are meant to do… no matter what outside forces may have to say.

The film features centuries of “badass women” who have laid the groundwork for 50-50. It honors the estimated 50,000 “wise, independent, and rebellious” women who were labeled as witches and massacred at the hands of an ignorant and oppressive ruling class. It gives credit to the brave women who fought against incredible odds through the Women’s Suffrage movement, earning the right to vote and obtaining equal legal rights in the United States, in just the last century.

Inspired by #PledgeForParity

The International Women’s Day (IWD) campaign theme in 2016 was #PledgeForParity. Their website reports this disturbing and unacceptable trend: “The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.”

Closing this gap will require brave women who dare to imagine the unimaginable, who risk doing things once thought undoable, and who follow their hearts, even when this leads them down paths previously untraveled by women. Many great achievements were considered impossible at one point in history, as gender equality may seem at this moment. Big dreamers talking about their grand ideas have often been labeled fools… that is, until they became famous![2] With inner drive, deep conviction, and the power of the heart, the amazing human spirit can empower women, and men too, to transcend perceived limitations and finish blazing the trail to equality. #BeBoldForChange is the perfect theme for #IWD2017.

Women of Significance

A legacy of heroines in the fight for gender equality now passes the baton forward.  It is the courageous women of today, the modern badass ladies navigating unchartered terrain, who will pave the last mile to 50-50. I am proud to recognize eleven such women in the pages of my newest book, Women of Significance: They’re Here To Leave Distinctive Dents in the Universe, scheduled for release this summer. Each of these women are doing work they love and creating something of great value to others[3]. It is my sincere hope that they will serve as inspiring role models for girls and women the world over.

And it’s vital that others are inspired to follow in their footsteps, because the trailblazer’s can’t do it all on their own. They need lots of help in this important movement towards global gender parity. So it’s great to know that once a new path is beaten down, it’s easier for others to follow. I love the way Laura Liswood, Secretary General, Council of Women World Leaders, likens the phenomena of a breakthrough to a standing ovation. She says, “A few people jump up and say this is the best thing they’ve ever seen. Then another larger group gets up, and says, yes, yes, this is just excellent. Then a large group gets up saying yeah, yeah, this was OK. And then finally, the last group gets up because they can’t see the stage.”

Such true and wise words from Laura Liswood. I hope you’ll feel inspired to check out Tiffany’s film and #PledgeForParity and perhaps feel moved to make an even stronger commitment to stand up and be part of the global ovation for gender equality.

Sign up for 50/50 Day | Join International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange

[1] Secretary General, Council of Women World Leaders. @LauraLiswood

[2] https://www.happyliving.com/2015/04/01/the-power-of-fools/

[3] https://www.happyliving.com/2015/08/19/my-philosophy-on-significance/

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