Some revolutions are bloody, and some are flash-in-the-pan moments.
The women’s movement began quietly with a book “The Feminine Mystique”, moved to bra burning, and gained traction with consciousness raising groups.
All of that seems like it was centuries ago.
We now head large organizations, are in key positions in government, and have a say in just about everything. Yet some of the pleaser and martyr behavior patterns that were handed from generation to generation are still dying a slow death.
Just watch “Mad Men” and remember how it was. You worked if you typed and delivered. No not ideas – merely the coffee to the men. While much has changed, there is more work to be done.
This is a year of both celebrating change and dialoguing about what still needs to change. CELEBRATION: in the next few months women will cross the threshold and become the majority workers in America. CELEBRATION: women professionals are in the majority in this country. CELEBRATION: women have become economically powerful in their own right.
What is the next phase of the revolution toward equality, and even beyond that, toward partnership?
Perhaps we need to regroup and create consciousness-raising groups that mirror the 60’s. Maybe this time it needs to include both men and women. While we need to celebrate the successes, we really need to ask the hard questions that remain unanswered for ourselves, our children, and even our grandchildren.
My daughters are grown, and I am now watching the dilemmas and concerns about what it means to raise children in a world that is going at warp-speed. What does it mean to run a business, run a household, and still have time for the kids?
I believe the dialogues of today are around the unfinished business of the past. The issues are around motherhood, and fatherhood. The issues at the deepest level are about the children. If we have them, then who raises them? What kind of support is needed to bring out the best in the next generation?
This is where the pleaser and martyr patterns of the past, so deep in the neuropsychology of most women, kick in. Women still appear to be the ones who make the plans for the youngsters, take off the time if they are sick, and worry about grades, friends and drugs. Sure, dads are included, yet it still seems that mothers are carrying the heaviest part of the load. That has not really changed.
I am not suggesting we demand that our men vacuum and make the oatmeal. That discussion belongs to each couple to sort out. I am thinking way bigger than that. I am wondering if we can look at the countries that have offered families more help, looking especially at Norway and Sweden.
What do we need to do to change, so the next generations grow to be the best they can be? When do we as women take the pleaser and martyr parts of our personalities and transform them into their positive opposites – the truth teller and the integrator? What are the questions that need to be asked to sort out the dilemma of what we can do, what our businesses can do, and what government can do?
I’d love to hear from you with ideas about creating life-enhancing programs that can deter so many of the social problems connected with the new world of work we have helped create, and the burdens of parenting at every level of our society.
Let’s start a 21st Century rendition of consciousness-raising, and keep the revolution for healthy and balanced evolution at the forefront of our lives.