The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. – Alice Walker
Why only one day for Mothers?
I’m devoting the whole month of May to women everywhere, and mothers in particular, for we have one of the toughest tasks in the world – raising the next generation.
In this Month of Motherhood, my blogs will be dedicated to empowerment and the women I admire – all of you. For the first time in history, women are poised to become the richer sex, according to a recent TIME cover article. Roles are changing. Women are becoming the major breadwinners.
Women’s housework hours have dropped, while men’s have risen. Women make twice as many buying decisions as men, and over the past generation more men have become hands-on daddies. Though big adjustments for men and women, these changes do not have to create a gender showdown. Many families are learning to enjoy the expanded equality and shifting roles. Kids in particular are benefitting from more time with both parents.
Another recent cover story (Newsweek) explores the secret fantasies of this new modern woman, of which apparently bondage is a big one. The article ties the viral success of the “mommy porn” novel Fifty Shades of Grey to the super woman’s desire to relinquish being in control.
Excuse me, but it doesn’t seem we’ve been in control long enough to fantasize about submission. Maybe it’s just the way we think after so many years of relinquishing control. A bad habit that takes a bit of time and effort to break. It seems the novel’s success at this time has to do with both the powerful forward movement of women, and the current backlash of ’60s nostalgia (think Mad Men), where the submission of women in both workplace and home was considered sexy. Two tides crashing. And where does the modern woman stand? On a whole new shore. One of the most dramatic economic shifts in history.
The world we are facing is one of challenges and rewards. We have the power to create this new world. Women are now the major voters in the US, which means we have the power to influence laws and budgets, including the education budget and funding for women’s health through the people we choose to represent us. Women are now earning 60% of higher education degrees in the US, and the majority of doctorates and master’s degrees. The gaps are closing, but we are not quite there yet. Women still earn 20% less than men for the same jobs.
I’m all for looking ahead, learning from the past and forming the future. We’ve come a long way from the Mad Men era. Here’s an actual ad from those prehistoric days:
It’ll take some practice to become comfortable with our growing power, and wield it with effective grace but we are getting there!
What empowering moment have you experienced recently? I’d love to hear from you.
Illustration by Rima Hawkes Graphic Design