Women are doing far and away more than our fair share of [unpaid care work] – this necessary work without which our lives would all fall apart. And, as with male violence against women, female biology is not the reason women are the bum-wiping class. But recognizing a child as female is the reason she will be brought up to expect and accept that as her role. Recognizing a woman as female is the reason she will be seen as the appropriate person to clear up after everyone in the office. To write the Christmas and birthday cards to her husband’s family – and look after them when they get sick. To be paid less. To go part-time when they have kids.
Failing to collect data on women and their lives means that we continue to naturalize sex and gender discrimination – while at the same time somehow not seeing any of this discrimination. Or really, we don’t see it because we naturalize it – it is too obvious, too commonplace, too much just the way things are to bother commenting on. It’s the irony of being a woman: at once hyper-visible when it comes to being treated as the subservient sex class, and invisible when it counts – when it comes to being counted.
Excerpt from Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez, Abrams Press, New York, Paperback Edition 2021 (pp. 313-314). [Original Hardcover Edition, published by Chatto & Windus (UK) and Abrams (USA), 2019.]
CAROLINE CRIADO PEREZ is a best-selling and award-winning writer, broadcaster, and award-winning feminist campaigner. Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men is the winner of the 2019 Royal Society Science Book Prize and the 2019 Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award. She lives in London (UK) where she also writes a weekly newsletter keeping up with the latest data on the gender data gap.
Our identity is such an integral part of who we are as individuals that we can take it for granted, without question. As a female of the primate species homo sapiens (wise man), I share the same identity with an estimated 3.905 billion female humans, representing 49.58 percent of the total human population on Planet Earth in 2021 (UN World Population Prospect 2019). The similarity of our identities end there. They are as diverse and complex as the technologically advanced societies we humans have created on Earth.
My identity was forged during a period of great geopolitical upheaval. The economic power of the British Empire had taken a direct hit during World War II, bringing my small world in then British Guiana under the control of the emergent dominance of the United States of America. Descendants of African slaves and indentured laborers from China, Madrid (Portugal), and India, we were inferior beings in the eyes of the dominant white male governing class. My skin color and social status as a member of the working-class became defining elements of my identity.
Following the birth of our independent nation of Guyana in 1966, we forged a new identity as a multiracial, multiethnic country of six peoples—African, Indian, Chinese, European, and Amerindian—united under the motto of “One People, One Nation, One Destiny.” Breaking free from old ways of being does not come easy. Just look at what is happening today to the members of our human family in Ukraine, a former Soviet Socialist Republic, as they seek to forge a new identity as a democratic nation, realigned to Western Europe.
What happened in the former Soviet Union illustrates the main thesis of [The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future]: The real struggle for our future is not between capitalism and communism, left and right, religion and secularism, or any of the other struggles constantly in the news. It is between beliefs and social structures orienting primarily to either the partnership model or the dominator model of society.
~ Excerpt from the “Special 30th Anniversary Epilogue” of The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, USA, 1987.
The dominator model of society and governance is on full display as Russian President Vladimir Putin launches a large-scale military attack on Ukraine, an independent nation since 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union. There is no room for respectful negotiations, cooperation, and peaceful coexistence when the “masculine virtues” of toughness, aggressiveness, and dominance take precedence. Women and children in both Ukraine and Russia will suffer most from the violent upheaval of their lives.
When will we humans learn that war is not the answer to what ails our world?
RIANE EISLER, a social systems scientist, cultural historian, and attorney, is president of the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS), dedicated to research and education. She is known worldwide for her bestseller The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 27 foreign editions and 57 printings in the USA. The late Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised her book on economics, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, as “a template for the better world we have been so urgently seeking.”
We humans have re-created the surface of our planet in our own image. Then, for control of the masses by a few, we have constructed multiple realities of what it means to be a human. To further manipulate and distort facts and reality, we have entered what some regard as “the post-truth age.” With the aid of algorithms, disinformation whips across social media networks like hurricane force winds, rupturing human interactions within the physical spaces we share. For how much longer can our communities withstand this mounting chaos without implosion?
We clearly see the key role of repressive gender and parent-child relations in the rise of fundamentalism—be it Eastern or Western, Muslim or Christian. While this phenomenon is generally mislabeled as religious fundamentalism, it is actually dominator fundamentalism. It is the reinstatement of authoritarian rule in both the family and the state or tribe, rigid male dominance, and the idealization of violence as a means of control.
Excerpt from the “Special 30th Anniversary Epilogue” of The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future by Riane Eisler, HarperCollins Publishers, New York, USA, 1987.
RIANE EISLER, a social systems scientist, cultural historian, and attorney, is president of the Center for Partnership Studies (CPS), dedicated to research and education. She is known worldwide for her bestseller The Chalice & The Blade: Our History, Our Future, now in 27 foreign editions and 57 printings in the USA. Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised her book on economics, The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics, as “a template for the better world we have been so urgently seeking.”
Rape myths are a key component of what we now call “rape culture.” “What were you wearing?” and “why didn’t you report it?” are two classic rape myth questions that “Me Too” survivors face. Rape myths also have a geography. This gets embedded into the mental map of safety and danger that every woman carries in her mind. “What were you doing in that neighbourhood? At that bar? Waiting alone for a bus?” “Why were you walking alone at night?” “Why did you take a shortcut?” We anticipate these questions and they shape our mental maps as much as any actual threat. These sexist myths serve to remind us that we’re expected to limit our freedom to walk, work, have fun, and take up space in the city. They say: The city isn’t really for you.
Excerpt from Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-made World by Leslie Kern, Verso, London/UK and New York/USA, 2020. First published in Canada in 2019 by Between the Lines, Toronto, Canada.
On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, after leaving a friend’s house around 9:00 p.m., 33-year-old marketing executive Sarah Everard disappeared during her walk home in south London. Her remains were found seven days later in a large builder’s bag in a wooded area more than 50 miles from where she was last seen. The man charged with her kidnapping and murder is a 48-year-old Metropolitan Police officer.
Leslie Kern, an urban geographer, is an Associate Professor of Geography and Environment and Director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick, Canada. She has a doctorate in gender, feminist, and women’s studies from York University in Toronto. She does research on gender and cities, gentrification, and environmental justice. She is the author of Sex and the Revitalized City: Gender, Condominium Development, and Urban Citizenship. Born in Toronto, Canada, she has also lived in London and New York City.
You give but little when you give of your possessions. / It is when you give of yourself that you truly give. // There are those who give little of the much which they have—and they give it for recognition and their hidden desire makes their gifts unwholesome. / And there are those who have little and give it all. / These are the believers in life and the bounty of life, and their coffer is never empty. // All you have shall some day be given; / Therefore give now, that the season of giving may be yours and not your inheritors’.
Excerpt from “On Giving” from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, first published 1923, reprinted edition by Alfred A Knopf, New York, USA, 2005.
Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931), a poet, philosopher, and artist, was born in Lebanon. At twelve years old, he migrated to the United States with his mother and siblings. The Prophet, written in English, is Gibran’s masterpiece and has become one of the beloved classics of our time. It is considered an expression of the deepest impulses of the human heart and mind.
Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes—you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists…. It’s the belief that what we do matters even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterward either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone.
Rebecca Solnit in the Foreword to the Third Edition (2015) from Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, published by Haymarket Books, Illinois, USA, 2016. First published by Nation Books, USA, 2004.
Rebecca Solnit, born in 1961 in Connecticut/USA, is a writer, historian, and activist. She is the author of more than twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, hope and disaster. An independent writer since 1988, she is a columnist at the Guardian and a regular contributor to Literary Hub. Her most recent book, Recollections of My Non-Existence, was released in March 2020.