Over the last week, the internet has popped up loads of articles about influencers behaving badly—in one case, the queen of relatability and toxic positivity shared casual, demeaning remarks about her hired help, then offered a non-apology that involved throwing her own team under the bus, then deleted the bad posts, and—wait for it, I’m sure within the next few days, tears will be next. There will be tears, and a public apology (a “real” one), and a vow to do better. It strikes me that this is strategic, because we’ve seen this playbook before. It’s a marketing strategy, and you’re being played.
It’s time we talked about what power looks like for women, and how we claim our right to power—specifically a new feminine form of power. For centuries, we’ve told men’s stories, and we’ve told stories about masculine power. That power looks like power over other people, like strength, coercion, domination, and defeat. Women have fought for years to do all the things that men have done, Elizabeth Lesser writes—to vote, to lead, to have sex, to lead universities and companies and societies, to have babies, to leave the house, to leave marriages. But it’s time to move into a new form and vision of power. Here’s what it might look like.
Navigating business challenges while navigating pregnancy is tough—navigating pregnancy, business, private practice, and doing it all in a pandemic is extraordinarily difficult. Dr. Shani Cooper, the founder of Root and Soul, runs a holistic health, wellness, and birth support practice based in San Diego. She was also pregnant in 2020, and a member of The Wise Women’s Council last year. We found a few moments to catch up about the year we had, and what it was like to be pregnant, give birth, and run a business in a global pandemic.
We need your leadership from where you are—as you are. We’ve known for a long time that we need much more diverse leadership, that we need women’s leadership, and that we need new models of power. As Elizabeth Lesser says, we need to embrace “power to,” not just “power over.” We need truth telling, and we need new visions. We need you, your work, and your brave new thinking. We need you to show up. We need you to be who you really are, not what an archaic model of power and “leadership” tells you to be. Take care, take the rest you need, take action, and show up. Even and especially as you are.
In a year with a pandemic, wildfires, the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more, it can be easy to fall into despair, sadness, or anger. Even if you’re reading this years from now, things can go wrong—and they often do. People pass on, projects go under, businesses are forced to change. Part of the work of being human is reconciling with all that is beyond our control. Here’s a practical exercise to understand what’s within your control, and how to use it.
A few years ago, when we first had children, my husband talked to his workplace about parental leave. He knew that while he’d like to be home during the first few weeks during and after the birth, he was also interested in being able to be around with his kids while they grew up. So, the summer after our first kid was born, he shifted his schedule to work from 8am to 4pm. From there, he advocated for taking a four-week leave every summer to spend time with his kids. We’re not taking a full sabbatical this year because of the pandemic, but we will still push pause on a few things where we can.