Thought for Today: The Irony of Being a Woman

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Front Cover: Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez (Paperback Edition, 2021)
Photo Credit: Abrams Books

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.

Reflections: My Evolving Identity

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The Human Family (Photo compliments of Pixabay)

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.

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“Identity” – Poem by Afro-Brazilian Poet Ryane Leão

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Afro-Brazilian Poet Ryane Leão
Photo Credit: Poet’s Facebook Page

My Poetry Corner March 2022 features the poem “Identity” (Identidade) from the 2017 debut poetry collection Everything in Her Shines and Burns: Poems of Struggle and Love (Tudo Nela Brilha e Queima: Poemas de Luta e Amor) by Afro-Brazilian poet Ryane Leão. A lesbian and English language teacher, born in 1989 in Cuiabá, capital of the Center-West State of Mato Grosso, Ryane moved to São Paulo where she studied literature at the Federal University of São Paulo. Considered one of the most representative militants of Brazilian poetry today, Ryane’s poems speak mainly about female empowerment, social inequality, and the struggle against racism.

Influenced by her poetry-loving parents, Ryane grew up with a fascination for literature and began writing as a child. But she never saw herself in the stories of Brazil’s famous poets, mostly white males. That changed when she moved to São Paulo. With exposure to poetry by black women, she discovered another type of poetry that spoke to her life experience.

Her journey to penning her own stories were strewn with shards of glass, as shared in the following autobiographical poem:

how many times my mother sat on the edge of the bed
and helped me remove the shards of glass from my feet
and said few would deserve my love
that the world would hurt me because I was born
with too much heart
that I had to stop being so good
or I would have nothing left
beyond the shards
that she pulled out
with care and patience
planting flowers
in their place
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Climate Chaos: Humanity’s Predicament

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NOAA Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory 1960-2020
Source Credit: NOAA

We the inhabitants of Earth are in trouble. Serious trouble. Our failure, so far, to end our addiction to fossil fuels and change our consumption habits may well lead to societal collapse within our own lifetime. Such is humanity’s predicament.

In their book, Deep Adaptation: Navigating the Realities of Climate Chaos (UK & USA 2021), Editors Jem Bendell and Rupert Read present “an agenda and framework for responding to the potential, probable or inevitable collapse of industrial consumer societies, due to the direct and indirect impacts of human-caused climate change and environmental degradation.” (Introduction, p.2)

By ‘societal collapse’ they refer to an uneven ending of the consumer systems that make our lifestyles possible. These are systems that we take for granted: sustenance, shelter, health, security, pleasure, identity, and meaning. The term ‘collapse’ implies a permanent and total breakdown of these systems. There is no going back to the way things were before the breakdown. The word ‘deep’ takes us deeper into the causes and numerous ways in which we respond to catastrophe as individuals, organizations, and societies.

The Covid-19 global pandemic provided a preview of the vulnerability of our normal ways of life. Beyond the initial health crises, the pandemic triggered an ongoing series of cascading effects on our local and national economies—increasing joblessness, homelessness, and food insecurity. The domestic political upheaval continues to divide us. The disruption in our consumer and industrial supply chains plague us still.

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Thought for Today: The Global Struggle for Our Future

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The Apotheosis of War by Russian Artist Vasily Vereshchagin – Oil on Canvas, 1871
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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.”

My Review of The Twisted Circle by Rosaliene Bacchus — Anything is Possible!

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Spiritual Courage in the Face of Toxic Harassment The Twisted Circle tells the story of Sister Barbara, a nun who has just transferred to a convent in the northern jungle region of Guyana to teach school. Like the other nuns, she cares very much about the students. Her sudden promotion to the position of headmistress […]

My Review of The Twisted Circle by Rosaliene Bacchus — Anything is Possible!

JoAnne Macco, now retired, has worked for thirty years as a mental health therapist, specialized in addictions and codependency. Growing up in a military family, she lived in six U.S. states and Canada. Her love for nature, art, and writing became the constants in her life. In her first book, Trust the Timing: A Memoir of Finding Love Again, Macco tells the story of how her high school sweetheart found her thirty-nine years later when the timing was perfect. She blogs at “Anything is Possible!” where she writes about relationships, spirituality, and hope. She lives with her husband in North Carolina. Learn more at https://joannaoftheforest.wordpress.com/about/

“Springbank” – Poem by Jamaican-born Poet Shara McCallum

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Jamaican-born poet Shara McCallum
Photo from official website

My Poetry Corner February 2022 features the poem “Springbank” from the poetry collection, No Ruined Stone, by the award-winning Caribbean American poet and writer Shara McCallum. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1972, to an Afro-Jamaican father and a Venezuelan mother, she was nine years old when she migrated to Miami, Florida, with her mother and sisters. Her father, a singer and songwriter suffering from schizophrenia, stayed behind in Jamaica where he took his life not long after their departure.

McCallum graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami. She earned her MFA from the University of Maryland and a PhD in African and Caribbean Literature from Binghamton University in New York. Her poems and essays have appeared in journals, anthologies, and textbooks throughout the USA, Latin America, Europe, and Israel. No Ruined Stone, published in the UK and USA in 2021, is the latest of her six books of poetry.

No Ruined Stone is a collection of speculative narrative poetry inspired by McCallum’s first visit to Scotland in 2015, where she unearthed historical records revealing that the country’s most celebrated poet, Robert Burns (1759-1796), had made plans to leave his homeland. Throughout the late summer and into the fall of 1786, Burns booked passage on three different vessels that sailed to Jamaica. He had accepted employment as a “bookkeeper” on a slave plantation in Jamaica owned and managed by his countryman, Charles Douglas. Was he trying to escape financial ruin as a struggling tenant farmer? Or was he fleeing responsibility for having impregnated a young woman out of wedlock? At the time, he was also working on publication of his first book of poetry which was well received, changing the course of his life.

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Guest Post: “We wear our words” by Kate Duff

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Words: Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

In her article “We wear our words,” posted to her blog A Thousand Bits of Paper, Australian poet and storyteller Kate Duff reminds us that the words we use matter and calls on us to pay attention to the words we surround ourselves with.

What words do you live by? What words do you allow to accompany you in this life, and which have you erased from your experience? When you give your word, which word is it exactly and where does it spring from? Who do you allow to keep it, keep parts of you? Because our words, our personal words are like allies that we keep close, they are the chisels which we allow to carve out who we are, they are everything. Yet so few people look around and within to see what company they are keeping.

Excerpt from the article “We wear our words” by Kate Duff, posted on her blog January 30, 2022

Read the complete article by Kate Duff HERE.

The Twisted Circle by Rosaliene Bacchus. Book Review by Ken Puddicombe

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After starting the New Year in a fight with the coronavirus Omicron variant and its after-effects, it was a surprise and joy to read Ken Puddicombe’s review of my novel, The Twisted Circle.

Guyanese born, American domiciled author Rosaliene Bacchus follows up her first book—Under The Tamarind Tree with another set in the only English speaking country of Guyana in South America. While the first is centered on events occurring mainly in the capital Georgetown, The Twisted Circle is set in the North West district, a region of the country bordering Venezuela on the west and sparsely inhabited mainly by the native Amerindian tribes. Both books, however, dwell on the post-independence period of the country, a period of turmoil, racial conflict, and endemic corruption. 

Excerpt from Book Review by Ken Puddicombe, January 23, 2022

You can read the review on Puddicombe’s blog HERE.

Ken Puddicombe is a Guyana-born author of two historical novels Racing With the Rain (2012) and Junta (2014), a collection of short stories Down Independence Boulevard & Other Stories (2017), and a poetry collection Unfathomable & Other Poems. He lives in Toronto, Canada, where he owns and runs a small press.


Face-to-Face with Omicron

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Coronavirus – Pexels Photo Gallery

After more than twenty-one months of managing my pandemic anxiety, I have come face-to-face with the enemy: Omicron. I had lowered my defenses. I counted on my anti-vax son (hereafter called Sonny) who works in home renovations to alert me when exposed to someone infected with the virus. He had done that in December 2020 when his cousin’s wife had contracted the virus. At the time, when he also became sick, he self-isolated in his then newly rented apartment, adjacent to ours. His older brother took care of his meals.

The Omicron variant is different. When Sonny returned home on Thursday, December 30, after completing a two-month home renovation project in Palm Springs, he was unaware of Omicron’s sneak attack. He complained of general muscle pain, not unusual in his line of construction work, and spent the evening resting. He did not mention having a fever. On New Year’s Eve, he and another cousin went to a house party to welcome the New Year with their friends.

On Monday, January 3, the cousin tested positive for the coronavirus. The next day, my firstborn and unvaccinated son, who has been working from home since the lockdown in March 2020, took in with flu symptoms. He decided to isolate in Sonny’s apartment with the hope that I would not get infected. Too late. My head cold and cough started the following day.

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