The Women in the World Conference is back in town this weekend. I’ve never felt so proud to be a woman as I did last year leaving the Lincoln Center after a powerful weekend of triumphant stories of women worldwide. I was disappointed not to return this year, but I’ll be on the lookout for the livestream, no doubt.
I always swore I’d never become a feminist, given that the word was synonymous with, and as negative as, lesbian growing up. It was one thing to actually admit I was a lesbian, a whole ‘nother to start acting/talking like a feminist. [shudder.]
Given all the negative connotations as a kid, I always assumed that feminist meant man-hater. So, instead, I went above and beyond to make sure that people understood I wasn’t that kind of lesbian.
In fact, I was so adamant against it, or any activism for that matter–given that they’re all the same–I never learned much about any movement whatsoever. A few pride parade appearances and a drop-in on a NOW (National Organization for Women) rally in college was about as political as I’ve ever gotten.
It was only recently, as I’ve made a commitment to educate myself on the badass trailblazers that have risked it all for our freedom and equality that I’ve come to realize that I’ve been a feminist all along. Just a really quiet and fairly lousy one.
Last year’s Women in the World Conference and then this year’s V-Day and a ton of reading in between have been the necessary fuel for me to want to add my personal narrative to the collective–strength in numbers all empowered by the unity of story.
As Arianna Huffington describes in her new book Thrive, the third metric will be led by women. The first two metrics: money and power, were/are male dominated. This new metric will change the face of success and bring well-being to the forefront. For a passion-starved world, this shift is necessary for not only the health and well-being of the planet, but the overall happiness of its inhabitants.
I am truly inspired by the women out there crushing it right now. Teenagers like friends of Malala Yousafzai in Pakistan risking their lives for women’s right to education. Gamechanging women in science and tech, like Leah Busque and her tech savvy Task Rabbit or any of these physicists, biologists, science writers, psychologists, engineers, doctors, technologists, oceanographers, roboticists, even an astronaut, who have spoken at TED: Diane Kelly … Melissa Garren … Tali Sharot … Christina Warinner … Regina Dugan … Noel Bairey Merz … Lucianne Walkowicz … Lucianne Walkowicz again… Quyen Nguyen … Sheila Nirenberg … The three teenagers who won the Google Science Fair last year … Michelle Borkin … Cheryl Hayashi … Cynthia Kenyon … Jen Pahlka … Erica Frenkel … Lisa Harouni … Anna Mracek Dietrich… Angela Belcher … Susan Lim … Cynthia Breazeal … Nalini Nadkarni again …Jane McGonigal … Cat Lainé … Janine Benyus again … Catherine Mohr …Carolyn Porco again … Pattie Maes … Susan Savage-Rumbaugh … Elizabeth Murchison … Dyan deNapoli … Jessica Green … Nina Tandon … Edith Widder …Edith Widder again … Annmarie Thomas … Isabel Behncke … Janna Levin …Patricia Kuhl … Hawa Abdi and Deqo Mohamed … Ariel Garten … Heather Knight… Deborah Rhodes … Barbara Block … Jessa Gamble … Laurie Santos … Aditi Shankardass … Dee Boersma … Juliana Machado Ferreira … Temple Grandin …Andrea Ghez … Rachel Pike … Rachel Armstrong … Rebecca Saxe … Nina Jablonski … Mary Roach … Carolyn Porco … Mae Jemison … Margaret Wertheim… Bonnie Bassler … Nalini Nadkani … Jill Tarter … Sylvia Earle … Penelope Boston … Jane Goodall … Jane Goodall again … Patricia Burchat … Louise Leakey … Helen Fisher … Helen Fisher again … Jill Bolte Taylor … Deborah Gordon … Tierney Thys … Janine Benyus … Eva Vertes … Sheila Patek.
Entrepreneurs, writers, creatives, politics, women are saturating every field and showing the world that many of them can do it just as well, if not better, even with a baby on their hip. Gender roles are muddying further and further as women are fighting wars and men are stay at home dads.
I’m loving this no-size fits all culture and I’m thrilled to be a cheer-leader and a budding gamechanger in a world laying out the welcome mats for women to step up to celebrate one-another and strive for greatness, bringing the men with us, toward a world filled with more compassion, more acceptance, and deeper consciousness.
I leave you with this: Check out Gloria Steinem or one of the amazing women of TED. The great thing about badass is that it rubs off;) Believe me, you’re in good company.