But I’m Just a Woman.
As a 40-year veteran of the US public school system, 25-year veteran technical recruiter and 58-year-old woman, it is clear that the way girls are educated and socialized contributes mightily to the deficit of women in tech. It is systemic, and many of us have blind spots that we haven’t even thought to question until now.
As early as age 12, more often than not, math and science teachers of any gender avoided eye contact, did not acknowledge the girls who raised our hands, or otherwise encourage girls with their work in class or tutor them after hours. I have never been a white boy, but my guess is if you asked, far fewer of them shared that experience.
Our country was founded on the assertion that white men are not just “superior,” but the one and only norm, against which all “others” are evaluated. If that weren’t true, our founding document would read “dedicated to the proposition that all HUMANS are created equal,” and counting black people as 3/5 of a person would not be written into our Constitution.
Women and all “others” obviously deviate from that “norm,” so our core competencies have been systemically eroded, demonized and dismissed, to protect those of white men. Generations of these men have solidified a permanent thumb on the scale, in every aspect of our lives, to the extent that we might not question it, even when its symptoms cause us pain.
Even we deviants unconsciously concede the “norm” to white men. When we identify ourselves as our demography (I am a woman, I am black, etc…) rather than exert the energy to convey our true essence as beings, we are complicit. When we split the world into categories and consider any kind of separation between human beings in our own mind, we are accomplices.
It’s built into our language, and unlikely to be extracted any time soon, without some Orwellian ban on public use of the language. Speaking as a “lefty hippy writer,” that won’t do. We must create and use new language in all of the cracks and crevices of our lives, from the inside out
Consciousness is in flux today, and we are living at the cusp. Friction between a world dominated by The Masculine and one informed by The Feminine energies has created tremendous, chronic conflict before, and will continue to do so, until we are conscious enough to evolve beyond the level of “duality” consciousness into a higher one.
This is what it looks like when life works.
From the time we are born, the message our culture gives “others” is that our agency is optional, and only allowed as long as it does not even minimally curtail, subtly or overtly, white male privilege. Every generation has yielded a greater number of voices who make no secret of their objection to that model. Ours has more than ever. We just need to stand by them, rather than nitpicking and infighting with them, to see exponential progress.
Human nature is, if nothing else, an exercise in bringing as much order and equilibrium as we can to the chaos and entropy of nature. If we’re feeling optimistic, this is the best news of our lives. If we’re not, we’re ranting in Facebook comments and yelling at our screens.
Either way, the shift is happening. I’ll assert that now is our time to learn more effective ways of navigating these shifts together, rather than some of us grasping at status quo at “other’s” expense, and the rest of us absorbing the consequences. I believe that clawing at others’ expense is a symptom of imbalance, not an integral part of our nature.
Darwin distinguished “survival of the fittest” at a time when white male supremacy was stipulated by everyone, so it makes sense that fitness was expressed as dominance and force. It’s our responsibility to re-define “fit” in language and in practice.
Conscious evolution is the most significant existential opportunity we have faced in our lifetime. How we engage and navigate it is up to each of us and all of us together.
That’s where trust comes in.
My world view requires the belief that humans are inherently connected by compassion, empathy and love. For that belief to work, trust must be present.
I trust in human nature. I trust that our biology will, as it always has, be superseded at some point by our consciousness. Awareness of the distinction between biology and consciousness has become mainstream; the next call to action is taking full responsibility for our choices based on consciousness rather than stockpiling creature comforts to feed our biology.
Peaceful equilibrium will be impossible until there is no longer the white male “norm” and “others.” We currently have the tools to inform ourselves well enough to dismantle propaganda and reject false equivalencies. The collective will to do so is gaining ground. It might take longer than we want it to, but I believe our innate compassion will ensure it does, sooner than we imagine in our darkest hours.
We have work to do, and as Albert Einstein said, “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind that created them.” We must change our minds and the ways we use them. We must consciously evolve, to mitigate and render ineffectual the Masculine Vanguard of Entropy that currently controls most of our local, state and Federal “governments.”
This isn’t hyperbolic ranting. It is a compassionate kick in the hind quarters that I offer myself every day, to remind myself and anyone in earshot that our choices and abstentions have an impact on every species, every day. A majority of our species might not have made the connections yet, but I trust that we will.
Humans are a species, sharing the planet with countless other species. It’s time we used our “consciousness of self,” supposedly all that separates us from other species, to generate a world that works not only for our species, but for the entire planet. It is the new noblesse oblige.
We have tools and mass communications capacities to which no other generation has ever had access. We are just witnessing the results of a crisis of collective will. At this snapshot in time, entropy appears to be winning, and that only happens in the absence of conscious intention and desire. I believe we have everything we need to change that.
But then again, I’m just a woman.