Core to the belief system we as a Campowerment community have formed is the idea that we’re better together; that we’re for each other.
We believe in the notion of women not only being in each other’s corners, but also cheering wildly from inside the ring. This, from where I stand, is Campowerment’s edge. It’s what makes us different.
And as awesome as that is, what if it weren’t?
What if Campowerment didn’t feel like a rare gem for this reason? What if life were like this: a large playground for “individual actions, conversations, behaviors and mindsets” to interact, exchange energy and work together in service of “an impact on our larger society?”
This, my team’s thinking blended with the manifesto of this year’s International Women’s Day theme — Collective Individualism — is what I am…what we are…asking you to get behind. That “we are all parts of a whole” in service of a world that bears and breeds equality.
Says Matt Church, founder of Thought Leaders: “Collective individualism requires strong alignment skills. It’s about an organisation being okay with an individual succeeding,” a point I find fascinating. Why?
Because most people don’t pride themselves on wanting to suppress opportunity for others, but when they see someone else advancing or succeeding in a way that feels like it does not leave room for them to advance or succeed, things get hairy. And that is precisely what we’re targeting here.
A concept we’ve hit on before: abundance mentality (vs. scarcity mindset).
This IWD, in the spirit of the #EachForEqual campaign, I want to do two things:
- Make a clear point that there IS room for us all to succeed, and even more than that: to root for each other.
- To dare YOU to make one clear point that you’re passionate about, to promote the concept that “Collectively, we can make change happen. Collectively, we can each help to create a gender equal world. We can all choose to be #EachforEqual.”
My late grandmother, Grandy, our Village Elder, thought International Women’s Day rocked not only because it does, but because the notion of #EachForEqual is something she felt the world needed her whole life.
If you spent enough time with her to hear her favorite set of stories, you knew that Grandy (then Joan Leader) enrolled in the University of Alabama (back when Tuscaloosa still smelled like paper because of the paper factory in town). You also knew that she dropped out before the end of her freshman year because her big brother, Jack, was to begin law school, and there weren’t the resources for both of the children to be students. That thinking from a family that in many ways would have been seen as liberal in their day….
But that’s how it was — instead of each being for equal, it was each for the man in the family moving up and bringing the family with him.
Grandy changed her history (herstory) not because of her determination or commitment to her vision of self-empowerment but because of my grandpa, Jerry (“Papa”), who, as a surprise to some, is a keen example of an ally in the ongoing journey to gender equality.
It wasn’t until Papa urged Grandy to go back to school in her 30’s (“we’ll have three girls in college at the same time; please don’t make it four!”), knowing how much her education meant to her confidence and her potential, that she actually did pursue a degree…and then two more.
That’s why I share with you about my Papa, a (91-year-old!) man who empowers women in every way he can, no more and no less than he empowers men.
My Papa sees opportunity and he sees talented people, and he wants the two to meet, no matter what gender the talented people are.
He is willing to fight to put opportunity at the feet of those who don’t have access to it. And to invest in education that allows for those who need the support to unlock access to roads that lead to the top. Even when it means he who is in power has to give something up in order to provide it. Especially when that thing is so often his voice…
As a privileged white male, he knows his voice matters to society, so he uses it.
Papa came from poverty, and worked damn hard to earn his way to opportunity, but instead of saying “I earned it, so can they,” he recognizes that the good will and good faith of others allowed him the privilege to earn his way to where he is. So he’s all about that #EachForEqual push — paying it forward and standing for equality for all.
You see, as easy as it is to say, “women shouldn’t need men to validate our upward mobility,” my experience is that we do.
We each and all need each other in order to establish equality…in order for the scales of justice to find balance. That’s the thing about collective individualism, right? It requires the buy-in from everyone (or as many as it can mobilize)…not just women, not just men…all of us.
To me, on this IWD and every day (because the need for this campaign goes far beyond the campaign itself), collective individualism is what offers us the key to uniting as one, and pushing our global society forward, with room for all to succeed and grow.
How ‘bout you?
Make a declaration as to what about #EachForEqual means from where you stand…why you care…and what you want others to do about it…
Happy Women’s History Month, and on Sunday, March 8, International Women’s Day. Join the conversation here.
From the campfire & beyond,