I am always amazed how things get miraculously moved into and out of ones' life - often times with no obvious connectivity! I recently took a job in my community in the 4 Corners, as an Economic Development Specialist. Though I wasn't 'excited' about the job per se, after about a month I began to realize that something bigger was happening for me here that plugged into the book I had been working on for several years, Women, Economy & the SHE Future. As a result of this new job, I was exploring alternatives to the current economic paradigm, especially those that impacted women. I was familiar with the work of Marilyn Waring from New Zealand and found Riane's book on The Real Wealth of Nations. Things suddenly came full circle for me and I signed up for this course.
Years ago, I had been teaching a class entitled "Cakes for the Queen of Heaven" about women and their early history, Before the Common Era. In my exploration of women's history, I came across Riane's new book, "The Chalice and the Blade" which helped me take my work with women even further. And now, miraculously, here she was again, in a different yet familiar form, decades later.
I feel that women, the roles we play in our society and our place in the economy are key to significant change, hence the title,“Women, Economy and the S.H.E. Future”. I have been researching, looking to find ways of describing a paradigm shift away from our current, destructive and violent way of being, to something that returned us to a sacred, humane way of living and working that honored other humans in a balanced and equitable way as well as embracing the sanctity of the Earth and the environment on which we all dependent. I became familiar with this SHE acronym because of James Robertson and a book he wrote in 1972 about the "Sane Alternative". I changed the wording, (with his permission) because I feel strongly that we need a society that has a sense of the Sacred, something sorely lacking in our western thinking. Much of my life I have worked with Indigenous elders and Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. Ceremony, ritual and a deep connection to nature are all part of the sacred. In our culture we have an absence of the sacred, leaving a gaping hole in how we move forward in our everyday lives. To me, working with the Sacred, is the Caring Work at a whole other level. Riane's work with the Caring Economy, the Dominator vs. Partnership paradigms and her other books has provided me with new and valuable insights about ways humanity might move forward.
Given that I needed to do a project for this course, I took this opportunity to gather a small group of women to present the ideas of a SHE Future, the Caring Economy and the Dominator/Partnership paradigm and open it up for discussion. There was a lot of excitement and interest as we discussed all these aspects of how we might make a difference. There was a discussion for how a Caring Economy foundation had been laid in our community over the past 7 years and an exploration of using different language and policies in our current system. We discussed creating a SHE Network that would connect people all over the world with ideas, solutions and organizations that were working in this direction. Overall, the presentation was a success and I look forward to giving it to a variety of organizations in other areas of Colorado. It was truly an honor to participate in this course and I look forward to staying connected to the Partnership Learning Community.