By Pieter Grimbergen, member of the Female Wave of Change Circle of Wise Women
Looking at the TED Talk of Valarie Kaur ‘Three lessons of revolutionary Love in a time of Rage’ I realized watching something special. And as Valarie Kaur speaks of the power of women I also realize that there is a difference between the power of women and the power of men. Not meant as a qualification, but as an observation.
But what exactly is that difference. And how can it be defined…can it be defined? As a man, gay, hard working, trying to live to my values as much as I can, trying to give the best I can, I reflected on this issue. To start is where I end: I still don’t know but the difference is there, and the mixture is ‘the power of everyone’.
Circle of Wise Wo-men
Ingun Bol asked me to join the Circle of Wise Woman. Wo-men. Not only do I want to contribute to this fantastic initiative, but I also have the desire to learn from other members. By reading their stories, articles, watching their videos and how I am looking forward to a conference where we all can meet in real life, not only virtual, but by being able to react directly, exchange our things we find out and exchange our questions. Isn’t ‘asking questions’ the most human aspect of life! This is one of the few convictions I have…
Life if full of contradictions
Life is full of contradictions. Contradictions make life interesting. ‘When young and old connect, it ’s like joining the poles of a battery’, Parker J Palmer says in his most recent book ‘On the brink of everything’. Here we have a strong example of two poles. Same goes for science and culture. And we can go on with all this for hours and hours. But ‘female’ and ‘male’, what about that? When I was asked to join the FWoC Circle of Wise Women, I started thinking more and more about this issue. Are there women around me with strong ‘male’ qualities, and are there men in my life with massive ‘female’ qualities. And how about me, do I have an explicit female and male side? How to notice that, how to be aware of it? Or is it just how you are? Nothing more nothing less. I started questioning this and I assure you: I don’t have the answer (yet, or partly), but my research started.
I am working as a teacher and as a coach. This is what I found out: working as a coach I guide, sometimes I teach, but most of the times I learn. Working as a teacher I guide, sometimes I coach, but most of the times I learn.
You are enough!
Communities like the FWoC and many others are so useful: breeding places of learning. To reunite female and male, also in our community here, I think first of all it is very important that we stand for ‘being enough’, what you are, who you are, race, gender, political direction, female or male. I feel angry at a society that makes so many people believe that they are ‘not enough’. I do hope that female and male will unite in this. A role for Wise Women, I do think. That brings me on a returning theme, the gender differences in how we treat each other, in how chances in life are influenced by gender matters. And in several parts of the world (Africa, Asia, Arabic countries) and in lots of religious circles men are still in favor when it comes to job opportunities, justice, rewards (financial, status and material). You may call it a kind of institutional sexism, here we have an ‘ism’ and perhaps one may say that most ‘ism’s’ should be erased in this world.
Don’t exclude, connect!
I do have little confidence that this can be realized, but asking attention for this is an absolute obligation. I never join a community, or an organization with idealistic statements, with the vocation of “achieving great things”. Being aware of what you say is no 1 and suggestions, which can easily lead to non-verbal promises, can be dangerous. Most of all I hope that both ‘female waves’ and ‘male waves’ connect. Join each other, and to be honest I do realize that there is a long way to go especially with ‘male waves’…so asking myself questions about female and male in my own life, my only answer is: try to connect them. The hard line is not the best one, it excludes a lot.
Is the gentle line considered as female? Is the hard line considered as male? As long as these questions are kept alive and both questions get a ‘yes’ as an answer, we have a very very very long way to go.