Creating Your Blog Post

Did you know that all members of the Partnership Learning Community are welcome to create blog posts?

Feel free to author posts anytime you have something to share  - either about projects you are involved in that you think will interest the PLC community, or updates about your work as a Conversation Leader or Partnership movement-builder.  

It is easy to make a post - just follow the instructions below and have fun!

Instructions for posting and publishing on the Blog

New Conversation Leader

At the close of class today, I will join the ranks as a conversation leader and join all of you as we seek to bring no less than cultural transformation. My first gig as a conversation leader was with a group of women, mostly young mothers, striving to balance their professional lives with mothering. I used conversation, questions, slides to make my presentation. The discussion was lively. The group seemed to be particularly inspired by the words that “care and caregiving are invisible” in our culture.

A doula in the group (doing primarily post partum care) told us that a common issue among mothers is that the work of running a household has been so successfully undervalued that when they spend time caring, cleaning, organizing, planning, or shopping for the household they feel that they are being unproductive. As if this work will be done by magic, and is truly invisible labor. She has to remind them that this work has value; caring for the home and children is a necessary work. Whether it is done by someone else or themselves, they need to make time for it, and/or set funds aside for it. It is real work and requires attention. Their intellectual mind tells them differently, but their hearts have picked up the message that the work of care and caregiving is not work.  

My interest is in women’s empowerment, so I believe that my groups will probably be similar to this group, though I also would like to work with young women, teens and twenties. My intent is to plant seeds, and start or continue the conversation.  I feel that to awaken ourselves (despite all the hard-won success of the women’s movement) to women’s still subordinate role within a dominator system will empower women to seek change first for themselves and then in ever-widening circles of influence. I think it is essential to first be awakened to the “pot” we are still stewing in, then find the words to describe our experience to ourselves, eventually turning that uncomfortable “heat” into power. When Betty Friedan spoke about “the problem that has no name,” the unhappiness of women in the 1950’s, she could be speaking about women (and men) today. We have a problem that is hard to do anything about until we name it: the continued subordination of women within a dominator system and its consequences which are making both men and women stressed, overworked, and unhappy. And as important, it is overstressing our planet.


I have a facebook page called Feminine is Rising, (https://www.facebook.com/feminineisrising/) where I post articles about women’s issues, and other. I also have become involved in the refugee crisis, mostly through an organization called Carry the Future. I have been collecting articles on another facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/RisingWatersRefugee/) to gather information daily on what is happening, hopefully eventually to contribute in the efforts to draw attention to the growing crisis, and to remind myself that our work of cultural transformation is desperately needed now. And to be reminded daily that it is a groundswell of unpaid volunteers who are doing most of the work of caring for the refugees. This revolution of care from an army of volunteers gives me hope that their work, and our work, and other work like this, is evidence that we are gathering and preparing for the "Great Turning."

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Comments

  • Patty, thank you for this great post!  It really helped me crystallize the idea that in the second wave of feminism, women responded to the "problem that has no name" in part by leaving their households to enter the workforce.  Now, the next generations of women and men are, together, having to grapple with the still-invisible and still-devalued work of care and caregiving.  What is the value of this work?  Whose work is it?  How can we as a society structure things so that it is supported and valued?  How do we make space for it in our commerce-driven society?  I so admire the path you've taken to follow your own deep sense of what matters most - even when it has taken you into territory that seems unfamiliar to others still in the 'mainstream'.  I know that your story is shared by so many others who recognize that we must find our way back to a way of living that supports the nurturing of children, the earth, and ourselves.  Brava!

    • Sara, thanks. For many years, it was hard for me to find the words to articulate my experience. It truly was a problem with no name, no words. I think one explanation for this is that, until recently, mothers were not talking to each other about their shared experience. (And fathers were not even part of the conversation.)  Our culture had pitted "working moms" against "stay at home moms," creating a false drama which resulted in a false polarization and a sort of bizarre competition - who works harder, who is happier, who lives longer - all inane questions. This all contributed to the haze that prevented women (and men) from talking to each other and understanding that whether working inside or outside the home - work is work, and that we ALL share the work and concerns of bringing in the "cash crop" and taking care of the homestead. Its always been that way, and how we divide the labor is an ongoing negotiation. But to pretend a primary piece of that work basically does not even exist is insane, and ultimately abusive.  I think, a form of cultural gaslighting.  Anyway . . . thank you so much for doing this work! It is so important. I have been so relieved to find the language of a caring economy to help me articulate what had been brewing for quite some time.   

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