When you come away from a weekend of listening to intelligent people articulating on topics that are very close to your heart, it’s hard not to be completely pumped up about that, (and perhaps ready to bend anyone and everyone’s ears that happen to cross your path.)
In times like this I’m thankful for this space. So I can consider and muse to my heart’s content without the side effect of possible ear weariness, that may be associated with anyone that happened upon my doorstep in the last couple of weeks.
While the topics spoken on varied from anxiety, death, masculine shaped communities, politics and the importance of women’s voices; for the sake of not writing a thesis today, I’m going to stick with the last one.
The importance of women’s voices.
Now as a woman, someone who writes, someone who engages in regular cultural questioning and as someone who often feels censored on various levels, this one was always going to be a big one. With Tara Moss, Jane Caro, Tracey Spicer, Emily Maguire, and Sara Mansour, this panel wasn’t going to be wishy washy.
A panel known for speaking up where it matters, standing to be seen, and making sure their voices are heard in ways where it counts. These women have established voices, words that have been finely tuned and (for some) have been articulating well driven words for decades.
So where does that leave the listener?
Or the person that doesn’t have the public presence, and has no interest in being thrown into the arena spotlight, but still wants to be heard and counted on matters that lie close to the heart?
To start with, think local. Now whether it’s your food system, your clothing or social change that you are advocating for, your local community needs you. It’s something i’ve banged on from the beginning in some shape or form, but your local community needs you. In regards to being heard; power and leverage comes from forming together. So keep it small at first and then if and when you are ready, widen your circle.
Remember you don’t have to be ‘nice’ all the time. Politely demand more, and then repeat yourself, and then probably again, and then, you guessed it again. (The Good Girl Stripped Bare– Tracey Spicer.)
Equal representation needs diversity. Those different voices need to be heard, otherwise you don’t have an accurate snapshot of the area in which you live. Who’s driving your community? Who are the ones speaking up within your schools? Your work place? Your public spaces?
Turn up and connect. Power is networks, use existing structures or like minded souls to make those changes. Often it will just take one person to get the ball rolling. Ripples become waves and watching a single voice turning into a chorus is a wonderful thing. (2017 Women’s March)
You’ve always got something. Always. Something to give, no matter how small that voice seems at times, it’s yours to be used. Whether it be in a letter, a protest, standing up, creatively fuelled, the written word or simply raising a question in a room where the conversation has never been challenged before, (and oooh, there’s plenty of those to choose from.)
Throughout the ages there have always been people who have moved against the tide, stepped out of line, thrown questions in a noisy room and refused to be silenced.
Those voices, with their diversity of backgrounds, experience, colour, communities and sex, simply put, encourage a more wonderfully inclusive and balanced society…and that’s certainly something I’d like to aim for.
Silence and Powerlessness– Rebecca Solnit
Icelandic Women’s Strike– 1975
Nurturing Wild in our Daughters– with Steve Biddulph