by Linda Sechrist
The Heart to Lead: Women as Allies for the Greater Good, a documentary film directed and produced by Cheryl Gould, explores the emerging paradigm of heart-based feminine leadership and how it is attuning women to their inner strengths, beliefs, each another and our Earth. “Women’s deeper unity of being is empowering them to take action and lead. Women used to long for a culture that would reflect their highest priorities; they are now creating one in which they support each other and make a difference,” says Gould.
She notes that for centuries, innumerable women have led and served as change agents. “Unfortunately, the majority of them never made it into the headlines or history books. A prime example—few individuals knew that 12 women ran for president before Hillary Clinton.”
In a recent Yes! magazine article, Rucha Chitnis reports that women are rising up to push back against growing corporate power, land grabs, economic injustice, climate change and more. Women’s groups and networks offer a paradigm shift, she concludes, exposing links between unbridled capitalism, violence, the erosion of human rights and destruction of the Earth.
A woman’s style of leadership in America’s corporate boardrooms, activist-led movements or state and federal government may not be plainly evident. Feminine wisdom’s emerging solutions are compassionate, collaborative and consensus building, and pursue universalistic outcomes and group cooperation. They contrast with conventional competitive strategies and solutions, according to the Legislative Effectiveness of Women study at Vanderbilt University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, in Nashville.
Jean Shinoda Bolen, a medical doctor, Jungian analyst and author of Artemis: The Indomitable Spirit in Everywoman, has been advocating since 2002 for a United Nations Fifth World Conference on Women (5WCW). “Empowered and equal women are the key to peace and sustainability. We need to rise up together and fulfill the Dalai Lama’s words at the Vancouver Peace Summit: ‘It will be up to Western women to bring about peace.’”
Bolen’s 5WCW vision joins millennial women worldwide now entering their era of activism with the feminist movement spearheaded by a boomer generation of women that’s forwarded the equality and empowerment of women this far. To this end, she marched in Washington, D.C., on January 21 in the Million Women’s March that globally attracted 5 million participants. “To make human rights women’s rights, we need a united global women’s movement,” she states.
Sande Hart, chief compassion officer of the nonprofit Compassionate California and president of the women’s global interfaith organization SARAH, participated in the Los Angeles Women’s March with 750,000 others. “There’s a sense that we’ve had enough. We’re not angry. We are morally outraged and seeking peaceful solutions wrapped in compassion and based in justice for all. In nearly 15 years of women’s community building, I’m convinced that healing our communities with resilience and a regenerative spirit is our biological and innate imperative. I see women emerging in unprecedented ways to make this happen,” says Hart.
The Rising Women Rising World organization provides tools and training to help women and men develop feminine wisdom and the qualities of potent compassion, deep listening, intuition and inclusivity. Hazel Henderson, an evolutionary economist, host of the Ethical Markets online TV show and author of The Love Economy, mentors for the group staff. She contends that to shape a future for the good of all, we must bring into balance masculine and the feminine energies and learn to value the long-marginalized qualities of feminine wisdom.
Henderson’s Love Economy paradigm reflects the sharing and caring sector not presently reflected in the nation’s gross domestic product. “Women’s unpaid work—raising children, taking care of households, serving on school boards, volunteering, caring for aging parents, etc.—constitutes 50 percent of all production in the U.S. and 70 percent of that in developing countries. This unvalued economic sector underlies and supports the public and private parts of the entire economy,” advises Henderson, who observes that competition cannot be the sole basis for an economy with any expectation of quality of life on a small planet.
In her film, As She Is, producer and director Megan McFeely captures her own journey to understand the collective potential of the feminine and how to live true to its innate knowing. She queries: “Can you imagine what might happen if women here and around the world rose up together and used our power of longing to heal the Earth?”
Linda Sechrist is a senior staff writer for Natural Awakenings. Connect at ItsAllAboutWe.com.