On Anne's Mind

Bridging the Millennial/Baby Boomer Divide

December 13, 2018

Alexandrea Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), the 29-year-old, newly-elected Congresswoman from NYC is a millennial in a hurry. She stunned the political world by beating a rising star incumbent to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. And she’s not about to be intimidated by the good-old-boys who have been treating the U.S. Capitol like their personal country club for decades. Case in point:  When Senator Lindsay Graham, who has been in Congress for over 23 years, tried to intimidate Ocasio-Cortez with an insulting tweet, she lectured him right back. 

The rising star’s leadership style is a classic example of the generational differences between ambitious, Millennial women and their Baby Boomer and Gen X “big sisters.” Millennials, such as AOC and her generational peers, have no interest in “waiting their turn” until more seasoned women leaders are ready to start sharing power it took them decades to achieve.  During the recent Midterm election campaigns, Ocasio-Cortez and multiple other first-time congressional candidates (including Elissa Slotkin and Haley Stevens, just elected from my home state of Michigan) vowed to voters that it was time for Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and the old guard to pass the leadership gavel to the next generation.

But a funny thing happened once these young, impatient leaders arrived in Washington, D.C.

Behind the scenes, 78-year-old Pelosi has been working her magic. She is a master at bringing people together, which is how she succeeded in getting the Affordable Care Act passed (which had floundered in D.C. for decades), and raises millions in political contributions. I'm sure she needed every bit of political savvy to convince a new generation of confident, hungry and impatient young leaders that a battle-tested general, such as herself, skilled in managing the levers of power in Washington, DC, still has much to offer.  Which she did!

It's a valuable, learning moment for all of us who are trying to figure out how to get three very distinct generations of ambitious, educated women to stop criticizaing and competing with one another and collectively turn our sites toward the real prize: Political, Economic and Cultural POWER.

In my book, POWERING UP!, I  explain the mindset differences, strengths and blind spots of each of the three generations of high-achieving women in the workplace today.  I call them Pioneering Interlopers (think: Pelosi), Influential Insiders (think: Michelle Obama) and I’ll-Do-it-My-Way Innovators (think: Ocasio-Cortez). 

My POWERING UP! podcast this week explores these generational differences in a fascinating episode called, Stilettos and Sneakers. You'll find it wherever you get your podcasts, or through my website. 

As a new generation of aspiring  women, who were raised to believe they could "be anything and do anything," begins to hit its stride, we're witnessing a fresh surge of female activism and a re-kindling of feminist flames that were mere memories for decades.  Ambitious female Baby Boomers and Millennial women have more in common than most realize.  Both are products of extremely large and activist generations that share the hunger, courage and ability to advance social change. Millennials leading the #MeToo revolt picked up where the feminists left off. 

Women born into the smaller, Gen X generation tend to be very different.  Often following tough, trailblazers into work environments, they developed the skills of diplomats following marines into freshly-conquered territories.  They found more success with fitting in as “one of the guys” than aligning with the gender role boat-rockers. 

But I believe Gen X women leaders, such as Michelle Obama, are about to play an esssential role in helping men, in particular, undertand and effectively navigate the gender white water ahead.  The likes of Lindsay Graham and Mike Pence (whose "Pence rule" is the male backlash to #metoo outrage) are terrified by women such as Octavio-Cortez who have no interest in playing by the old rules and are poised to dramatically change the game. 

Michelle Obama stood aside and softened her public image while her husband ran for and served as president. But she is now becoming an important guide for a time that is about to become much more turbulent.  Millions are buying her memoir and filling stadiums to hear her speak. She shed new light on an age-old conundrum when she told an audience, "That 'lean-in' shit doesn't always work!"  

So grab your pink pussy hats, Chicas. Millennial women are just getting warmed up and Baby Boomer trailblazers can feel that fire in their bellies burning again!  Smart men will welcome wise female guides -- of every generation!

 As always, I'd love to hear from you!  Enjoy your holidays.  Anne

#MeToo and Speaking Truth to Power

September 26, 2018

Just because I never told you, does that mean it never happened?

Just because I knew I was lucky that I had escaped something worse and realized there was nothing the police or anyone else could have (or would have) done about it, does that mean I should have reported it anyway? 

To whom should I have reported the conductor on an overnight train in Italy who found me sleeping all alone in a compartment and climbed on top of me?

The neighborhood boy who tried to convince a nine-year old to go into a garage with him so he could "see me." The high school date who locked me in his car and tried to tear my clothes off before I could escape?  The stranger in Hollywood who followed me out of a restaurant on a dark night? Or the admired athlete I thought was a friend on a night I tried to forget and never told anyone about. Not my friends, not my husband and certainly not the police. What good would it have done?  Dozens would have lined up to defend the athlete's outstanding character as someone who would "never do such a thing." Oh, but he did. 

We are about to witness ANOTHER courageous woman, risking the disintegration of her entire life, with nothing to gain and everything to lose, about to end her decades of silence, stepping onto the global stage to tell her truth about the character of a man who is on the verge of a lifetime appointment with the power to affect the lives of millions of other girls and women. We've been here before. How many more times will it take before the outcome changes? 

So many others have written so much and so well about the historic "she accused/he denied" U.S. Senate Judiciary hearings coming up this Thursday that I felt I had nothing to add.  I'm sure you know where I stand.

But this moment is too important to stay silent. What Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is about to do takes spiritual and moral courage.  She is reluctantly breaking her three decades of silence because there is so much at stake -- for all of us.  If faced with the same situation, I hope I would have the spiritual and moral courage to do the same. When Dr. Blasey Ford is testifying, I will stop whatever I am doing to stand in silence so I can send her all of the "Eve Energy" my lifeblood can spare -- to give her the courage to raise her voice and tell her truth.

That's What She Said

June 3, 2018

My Millennial son, Kevin, and I have had a running joke (usually off-color) between us for years around the expression, "That's what she said."

But in the last few weeks, "that's what she said" has taken on new meaning for me.  I'm worn-out and disgusted with the nearly daily, cultural overdose of "breaking news" coverage about the latest racist or vulgar insult some celebrity, elected official or business leader has tweeted to the world. 

I'm much more interested in wisdom being shared than in stupidity being spewed. So, here's some good news. 

For the first time in over 20 years, what she said has dominated what he said at commencement ceremonies throughout the USA.  This year, females keynote speakers, from Amal Clooney and Oprah Winfrey to Sheryl Sandberg and Queen Latifah, had the last word for graduates at the majority of American colleges and universities.  

The biggest buzz was created by the powerful message that legendary soccer champion Abby Wambach delivered to the Barnard College class of 2018. The FIFA Women's World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist challenged the all-female graduating class to "be the wolves in the world" to move society forward.

Give yourself a gift and read her entire inspiring message here. Or, better yet, watch the video

If you haven't followed USA Women's Soccer over the last decade, you may not know how dramatically Abby Wambach changed the game. You should know. This short video will help. 

Her memorable message included Four Rules she urged the next generation of women to embrace. 

  • Rule One: Make Failure Your Fuel
  • Rule Two: Lead From the Bench
  • Rule Three: Champion Each Other
  • Rule Four:  Demand the Ball

Wambach told the graduates she learned the importance of Rule Four by watching one of her soccer sheroes. 

She urged the graduates to embrace it as their rallying cry to tackle the gender bias that still awaits, telling them: "Give Me The Effing Ball! Give me the effing job! Give me the same pay that the guy next to me gets! Give me the promotion! Give me the Oval Office! Give me the respect I've earned! And give it to my wolf pack (sisters), too!" 

Abby Wambach has always been a team player, "... in search of significance, not just success," as she has often said. Significance for her team, for her sport and, most importantly, for the next generation of girls. 

I hope you'll join me in taking a page from a legendary leader's playbook and strive for signicance on our watch.  Which leaves little time for worrying about the very insignificant tweets of nobodys.

Power On!  Anne 

P.S. Two don't miss movies: RBG, the life and legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Book Club, I laughed my way through the whole thing!

POWERING UP PODCAST COMING SOON

April 17, 2018

Behind the scenes work has begun on my POWERING UP PODCAST, which will be launched soon.  One of my first guests will be feminist Rabbi Tamara Kolton, whose recent article tracing the seeds of the #METOO movement back to the Garden of Eden and the shaming of Eve triggered both outrage and rejoicing on social media.  My co-host -- and niece -- Monica Doyle brings Millennial Insight to what will be "cross-generational, cross-gender, cross-cultural" conversations about leadership and finding your unique power.  Here are a few photos from yesterday's recording session.

Will keep you posted on the launch date for POWERING UP! 

The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right

April 6, 2018

On this  50th anniversary of the assassination of American Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr, media outlets are replaying segments of his most famous speeches, including the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" prophetic speech he gave in Memphis, Tennessee the night before his death. Listening to his hopeful reminder that "Only in the darkness can you see the stars," I find myself thinking of the new stars that are shining fresh light on today's darkness. 

Today's social justice warriors are: 

Grieving high school students fighting for their lives. 

Outraged athletes taking a knee against racial violence.  

And courageous, young, gymnasts confronting an evil, sexual predator.

I believe that each of us has multiple opportunities throughout our lives to help move humanity forward. Some require only very small steps outside our comfort zones; others, gigantic, scary leaps. I've learned that the important thing is to recognize them for what they are: opportunities to help inch humanity forward on the long,moral arc toward justice.  

We have a magnificent, story-telling event in Detroit -- The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers -- that was created by storyteller, entertainer and truth-seeker Satori Shakoor, with the goal of "Transforming lives one story at time."

Satori chose Justice & Grace as the theme for last month's stories, and gave me the privilege of taking the audience back to the late 1970's and early 80's when I was one of the first female, TV sports reporters to walk through the doors of professional sports locker rooms.

To come with me, click here. 

When opportunities to make a positive difference knock for you, I hope you will open the door and let them in. And after you do, share your story. Because, it will inspire others to find their courage, as well.  Anne 

The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right

April 5, 2018

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the assassination of American Civil Rights Leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Many media outlets are replaying segments of his most famous speeches, including the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" prophetic speech he gave in Memphis, Tennessee the night before his death. Listening to his hopeful reminder that "Only in the darkness can you see the stars," I find myself thinking of the new stars that are shining fresh light on today's darkness. 

Today's social justice warriors are: 

Grieving high school students fighting for their lives. 

Outraged athletes taking a knee against racial violence.  

And courageous, young, gymnasts confronting an evil, sexual predator.

I believe that each of us has multiple opportunities throughout our lives to help move humanity forward. Some require only very small steps outside our comfort zones; others, gigantic, scary leaps. I've learned that the important thing is to recognize them for what they are: opportunities to help inch humanity forward on the long,moral arc toward justice.  

We have a magnificent, story-telling event in Detroit -- The Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers -- that was created by storyteller, entertainer and truth-seeker Satori Shakoor, with the goal of "Transforming lives one story at time."

Satori chose Justice & Grace as the theme for last month's stories, and gave me the privilege of taking the audience back to the late 1970's and early 80's when I was one of the first female, TV sports reporters to walk through the doors of professional sports locker rooms.

To come with me, click here. 

When opportunities to make a positive difference knock for you, I hope you will open the door and let them in. And after you do, share your story. Because, it will inspire others to find their courage, as well.  

Let Our Wallets Do the Talking

March 3, 2018

I'm thrilled with the news that a group of powerful, activist women just bought the Weinstein Company -- with plans to compensate Weinstein's victims, save employee jobs and create a new Hollywood Production Company, with a primarily female Board of Directors, committed to producing cool films with great women roles. Power On, Sisters.  Here's the story!  

Female Rabbi's Perspective on Eve as Spiritual Mother of Me Too Movement

March 3, 2018

Rabbi Tamara Kolton is an inspiring spiritual leader and thinker.  I am privileged to know her and to call her my friend.  We both live just outside of Detroit and about an hour's drive from Michigan State University -- home of predator doctor Larry Nassar who sexually assaulted young gymnasts for decades.  Their #METOO outrage that led to him finally being stopped and sent to prison for life, inspired Rabbi Kolton to write this commentary on why she sees Eve as the "Spiritual Mother" of the #MeToo movement. You'll either find it fascinating or infuriating. Click here to discover her powerful perspective. 

Was Garden of Eden a #METOO Moment?

February 6, 2018

Tamara Kolton is a rabbi and psychologist in Birmingham, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit.  She is writing her first book, “Oranges for Eve: Walking The Way of the Divine Feminine.”  In this commentary, she makes the case that the first and most memorable Bible story was also a #METOO moment.  She left me with plenty to think about. 

Powering Up to Leadership Podcast Interview

January 31, 2018

Integrate and Ignite is a terrific podcast for entrepreneurs and leaders. I was thrilled to be invited as a guest to talk about the 7 Skills High Achievers need to master to make the leap to Leadership.  We also talked about the #MeToo movement.  Hope you'll listen! 

The Rage and Resilience of the Gymnast Sisterhood that Came for a Predator

January 29, 2018

I’m sick over the devastating sexual assault that Dr. Larry Nassar, of USA Gymnastics & Michigan State University, perpetrated for decades on young, female athletes. But I'm also in awe and inspired by the courage of the amazing little girls who grew into incredibly strong women.

They are an example of the power of the next generation of young women who are just beginning to hit their stride. They will not settle for "being one of the boys" or being silenced. Me Too; It's About Time; and "We're Coming For You Larry!" are just the beginning. Long may they lead!

Here's my commentary on the Rage and Resilience of this powerful Survivor Sisterhood. 

Magic Johnson Calls for Accountability at Michigan State University

January 29, 2018

The great Magic Johnson, who led Michigan State University to the NCAA Basketball National Championship on his way to becoming one of the greatest players in the history of the NBA, has called on his Alma Mater to be held accountable for the criminal behavior of MSU Dr. Larry Nassar.  As a Michigander who married an MSU Spartan, I am horrified and heartbroken over the abuse that hundreds of young, female athletes suffered -- for decades -- and the dozens of adults who refused to believe them or ignored their cries for help. Here's more on Magic Johnson's comments.   

The Rage & Resilience of Gymnast Sister Survivors

January 29, 2018

Wherever you are in the world, I hope you are aware of the paradigm shifting events that unfolded over the past few days in a courtroom in East Lansing, Michigan, which is only an hour's drive from my home.

 

One hundred and fifty six (yes, 156!) courageous girls and young women stood before a judge and, in often quivering voices through bitter tears, told their stories of years of sexual abuse (camoflauged as "medical treatment"!) by child predator Dr. Larry Nassar. For decades - DECADES - this evil man repeatedly sexually assaulted hundreds of world-class, young, female gymnasts entrusted to his care. Some only SIX years old. 

 

Nassar is headed to prison. 

 

It's believed to be the biggest scandal in the history of sports. The stories of the "sister survivors" are ugly and heart-wrenching. But they are the tip of the iceberg. 

 

Equally depraved are the dozens of adults at Michigan State University and the USA Gymnastics community who ignored or refused to believe years of warning signs and complaints from young girls who sensed something was very wrong with the "treatments" he gave them for their pain. Those heads are just beginning to fall with the forced resignation of MSU President of Lou Anna Simon and the entire Board of USA Gymnastics.  

 

Our cultural tetonic plates are shifting.  As one survivor put it, "This is what it looks like when little girls grow up and become powerful women demanding to be heard."  We must learn from this depraved lesson so that future generations of little girls (and little boys) are no longer ignored when they raise alarm after alarm. They must be heard, believed and protected. 

 

The coverage here in Michigan, which is at the center of this tempest, has been intense with outstanding journalism shedding light and turning up the heat on this evil.  Here is a quick summary of the major players and the best coverage on each I have found.  I hope you will read, weep and believe.   

 

Key Players:

  • Dr. Larry Nassar - Now a convincted child molester who will spend the rest of his life in prison, Nassar was the USA gymnastics national team doctor and an osteopathic physician at Michigan State University. Who was/is Larry Nassar? 
  • Sister Survivors -- Who knows how many Nassar painfully violated; 156 told their stories to the world in court, including Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman. Remember this name: Rachel Denhollander. She is the courageous young woman who finally broke this perversion wide open by taking her story to the Indianapolis Star (2 years ago) and filing a lawsuit.  Please read her "The Price I Paid" commentary in the NY TIMES. And then listen to Aly Raisman confront Nassar in court.  
  • Judge Rosemarie Aquilina --  For seven days this  transformative judge did something highly unusual. She cleared her docket to make time at Nassar's sentencing hearing for any and all who wanted to speak to be heard. At first they thought it would be 88. But the calls kept coming as more and more of Nassar's young targets courageously stepped forward. The opportunity Judge Aquilina created for survivors to be heard and the support she gave them allowed the world to comprehend what happened and to react with appropriate vengence. This excellent Atlantic magazine article captures Aquilina's important role.  
  • Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon -- Once highly-regarded, Simon served as president for over 14 years. The MSU Board of Trustees, stunningly concerned more about its University brand than its students, circled the wagons around her with a vote of confidence less than 10 days ago. Unfortunately, she will be remembered for her complacency (if not cover-up) in this nightmare and the stunning ARROGANCE of her resignation letter. 

  • Investigative Journalism 
    -- That Larry Nassar is headed for life in prison and the survivors of his crimes are finally being heard is evidence of the importance of investigative journalism. The Indianapolis Star first broke this story two years ago. The Lansing State Journal, the MSU Student Newspaper and the Detroit Free Press have followed with oustanding additional coverage. But my favorite piece is the powerful commentary by sports columnist Shawn Windsor. His fury flames off the page as he tells one of the truths behind this story: society values boys over girls. Here's: This Isn't Penn State; It's Worse. 

 

Finally  -- I'm numb and sick over all of this. But I'm also in awe  and inspired by the courage of the amazingl little girls who grew into incredibly strong and powerful women who refused to be quiet. It took an incredible, tenacious young leader to unleash the power of this young sisterhood. They gained in strength as each stepped out of the shadows and felt their collective strength grow in that courtroom. They are an example of the power of the next generation of young women who are just beginning to hit their stride. 

 

They will not settle for "being one of the boys" or being silenced.  They are taking the baton of empowerment from generations of women who have gone before. Me Too; It's About Time; and "We're Coming For You Larry!" are just the beginning. Long may they lead!  

 

 

 

Growing Generational Chasm Between Feminists

January 23, 2018

I'm concerned about the growing chasm between so-called "2nd Wave Feminists" (Baby Boomers) and Millennial Feminists. Just as women want men to stop MANSPLAINING and LISTEN regarding the #METOO movement, it's time for my generation of women committed to the equality of the female half of the human race to LISTEN to our younger sisters who are beginning to hit their stride. The differences split wide open in the 2016 election over support for Sanders vs. Clinton. But they continue growing! Here's an insightful and well-researched article that helped me understand. 

SPORTS INOCUATE GIRLS AGAINST #METOO CULTURE

January 12, 2018

Participation in sports is one of the best ways I know to help inoculate our girls in preparation for the toxic culture they are growing up in. I'm a strong supporter of the Girls Changing the Game program of Detroit's PAL (Police Athletic League), which provides athletic opportunity and character building for 30,000 urban youth annually. Here's a great article in the Detroit News on why the opportunity to compete on sports teams and build confidence through physical activity is so important for our girls.

Oprah's Golden Globe Message Was About Us, Not Her

January 9, 2018

As much as I would love to see Oprah Winfrey debate Donald Trump on a national stage and believe that a Winfrey Administration would be a powerful antidote to the toxicity that has the USA in its grip, I agree with the parallel perspective. Oprah's stirring message, as she accepted a Lifetime Achievement honorary Golden Globe, was not about HER. It was about US. Hope you'll take the time to read this insightful commentary as you choose your own path. We are living in challenging times. Let's not be bystanders.  

Oprah for President. Really!!!

January 8, 2018

Something happened last night in Hollywood that may have an impact on the whole world. Yes, it was the #METOO and #TIME'SUP night, as women dressed in black, men wore supporting lapel pins and putting an end to sexual harassment and assault dominated Red Carpet and Honoree comments.

But the most powerful moment of the night came when Oprah Winfrey received the Cecil B. deMille Lifetime Achievement Award. It is a coveted, honorary Golden Globe, bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." She deserved it. 

But her greatest contribution may have been her acceptance remarks, which brought tears to the eyes of many, particularly women, in the star-packed audience, and were broadcast all over the world. Her message was one for the ages. I'm not going to attempt to explain the power and impact of her words. If you stayed up late and saw it live, you witnessed history ... better yet, herstory. If you haven't seen it, you need to. Watch it several times and soak it in. Then share it. Here's the link. 

Her message re-ignited talk about Oprah Winfrey as a potential 2020 candidate for President. After last night, that talk is getting serious. And it should. 

First, because she's clearly qualified and respected all over the world. Second, because of her integrity, clarity and values, an Oprah Winfrey Administration would be the most powerful antidote I can imagine to the toxicity that has America in its nasty grip.

Do I think she could be elected? ABSOLUTELY!

As discouraged as millions of us were one year ago when we took to the streets in Washington, DC (I was there), and in cities and countries all over the world, to express our outrage over the defeat of an incredibly qualified woman by a profoundly unqualified man, I believe the United States is on the verge of electing our first woman president. I'm hoping to live long enough to witness it. 

I've also come to believe that it is more likely that an African American woman will crack that ultimate "marble ceiling" before a white woman. Why? Because I believe our culture is more comfortable with powerful, eloquent African American women, such as Oprah, than we are with white women who dare to raise their voices too much and have the audacity to aspire too high. 

What do you think? Whether you agree or disagree with me, I'd love to hear from you. If you respond to this email, I'll answer! Anne

P.S. I'm getting ready to launch my PODCAST, which will be broadcast, initially, every other week. My launch date is March 8th: International Women's Day -- and the day that a National Women's Strike is scheduled in the U.S. What interesting times we are living in. Let's not be bystanders.  

Record Number of Women Running for Governor in U.S. 2018

January 3, 2018

Only 39 women have ever served as governor of a state in U.S. history -- one of them, the Honorable Jennifer Granholm, was governor of my home state of Michigan. Currently only SIX states have a woman serving as governor.  But that could change dramatically in 2018, according to the Center for American Women in Politics.  At least 79 women have either already thrown their hat in the ring or are seriously considering a gubenatorial run. We have a very strong candidate running for governor in Michigan -- Gretchen Whitmer, who was just profiled in the Washington Post. 

Here's more on why the U.S. may be poised for a giant gender leap forward in the 2018 elections. 

 

 

 

Insightful Voices on What's Next After #METOO Cultural Explosion

December 31, 2017

The New York Times recently gathered seven wise women for an insightful, roundtable discussion of the challenges and complexity of moving forward in the wake of the Silence Breakers and #METOO explosions of 2017.  One year of outing predators is just the beginning. How do we turn this moment of cultural reckoning into a positive turn on our evolutinary wheel?  Lots of thoughtful insight in this fascinating discussion about Work, Fairness, Sex and Ambition. 

Vital Voices Helps Women Move the World

December 30, 2017

Vital Voices is one of the most effective global organizations I've discovered that is helping to move the world forward through women's activism, advocacy and leadership. Since its founding 20 years, ago, Vital Voices has conducted more than 400 programs, serving more than 15,000 women in 181 countries.

They've also delivered 600 emergency assistance grants to survivors of extreme forms of gender-based violence and invested $11 million in direct assistance to its network leaders on every continent.  

If you're interested in learning more about this outstanding, change-agent, global organizationshere's more. 

What's Your Purposeful Word for 2018?

December 29, 2017

Rather than the traditional New Year's Resolutions (which most of us forget by February!), I have started choosing ONE WORD to set my direction and help keep my focus for the coming new year.  For 2018, my word is PRESENCE.  If you'd like to try this approach, here's a great tool I used to choose my focus WORD for 2018.  

Best Women's Writing on 2017 Issues

December 27, 2017

Huffington Post has compiled a fabulous collection of the most compelling commentaries written by women writers in 2017. For the next few weeks, I'm going to regularly share these outstanding voices with you. Many of the pieces are related to one of the biggest stories of the year: the #METOO explosion.   Here's "Y'All Don't Deserve Black Women," by Ashley Nkadi and first published in THE ROOT. 

What's Next After #METOO?

December 27, 2017

As one disturbing #MeToo story after another plays out before our national consciousness, I’ve started wondering what the best of our men are thinking. Our brothers, husbands, sons and trusted friends. Perhaps the reason so few males realize how frequently females experience or escape from unwanted sexual attention, harassment or assault is because we don’t tell them. Here are my thoughts on how we can move past "outing predators" and venting and forward to healthier gender dyanamics.  

What's Next After #MeToo?

December 23, 2017

December 23, 2017 -- Auburn Hills, Michigan USA

Dear Global Friends/Thinkers:

As one disturbing #MeToo story after another plays out before our national consciousness, I’ve started wondering what the best of our men are thinking. Our brothers, husbands, sons and trusted friends. Fathers, too, if you are lucky enough to still have yours.

None of the stories – not even the obscenest, nor the abundance of them – has surprised me. What has given me pause, though, is the reaction of so many well-intentioned, wonderful men who have said, “I had no idea how pervasive this is!" 

Women are all too aware of the menacing, gender iceberg that is always lurking just beneath the surface of our daily lives. Nearly all of us have been scraped by its sharp edges. Most have been at least cut or even sliced deeply. The unluckiest haven’t lived to share their stories.

In millions of deeply ingrained ways, every culture teaches females and males different stories about who we are, our place in the world and how to navigate it safely. Little boys are encouraged to learn to protect themselves from likely aggression from other males. Because most females don’t have the physical strength to out-muscle nearly any male we will encounter, girls are taught from an early age to stay out of harm’s way.

The most likely harm we must always be on guard against is from unwanted male attention. Attention that always has the potential to turn sexual. And, if we don’t cooperate, dangerous.

I've been puzzled that not one of the  most beloved men in my life has thought (or dared?) to ask, “Anne, have you ever experienced sexual harassment, or worse?” The only person who did was a radio host who was stunned by my on-air answer

Men Don't Ask. Perhaps the reason so few males realize how frequently females experience or escape from unwanted sexual attention, harassment or assault is because we don’t tell them. So, I decided to write a letter to the closest men in my life. By the time I finished, it was five, typed pages, but too painful to share.  

As I opened my memory file-drawer, scenes I’d forgotten came flooding back. They are never really forgotten, of course. Each one leaves its mark, impacting how we move through the world. And, hopefully, how we are listening now to the deluge of wounded women who are finally sharing their stories and confronting their predators.   

My earliest memory is from age 11 when a teenage boy, a stranger, tried to drag me into a neighbor’s dark garage. I knew I was in danger and ran. I never saw that boy again, but I met many of his cohorts over the years. Some were merely hanging out of cars yelling vulgarities at me, or grabbing at their crotches and hissing something obscene in my ear as we passed on the street.

Others caught me in the dark, at a moment when I made the mistake of simply being alone -- or trusting someone I thought was a friend.

And then there’s the mocking disrespect, the disdain, the sexual innuendo that all violate a woman's sense of personal safety. As a lone, female sports reporter interviewing athletes in locker rooms, I regularly absorbed gender hostility. That was considered the price of entry for women of my generation who dared to tackle all-male work environments, imposing ourselves where we were not wanted. In every decade of my life, I have been routinely reminded -- even by men who claimed to love me --  that physically over-powering me was always an option. 

But here's the saddest part of all this: there's nothing special or unusual about my experiences. Nearly every woman I know, who has lived long enough, can match me story for story. 

Dysfunctional, gender dynamics have wreaked havoc from Congressional hallways and network newsrooms to Hollywood casting couches and auto industry plant floors. Blue collar women at Ford Motor Company have endured decades of apalling harassment. And yet, it goes on and on. 

Time magazine got it right. The courageous Silence Breakers of 2017, who begn this national cleansing with the January Women's March on Washington, DC., brought this simmering outrage to a full boil with a steady drumbeat of stunning revelations about powerful men. Roger Ailes. Bill O'Reilly. Harvey Weinstein. Charlie Rose. Louis C.K. Matt Lauer. Roy Moore. John Conyers. Al Franken. Our Comander-in-Chief.

What's Next? Now that the lid has finally blown off our Pandora's box of decades (no, centuries) of gender injustice, the only thing that really matters is, What happens next? Will this moment of national reckoning lead to a forward turn on our evolutionary wheel, or will it be a mere passing blip on our cultural radar? Here are my top three forward steps:     

1) Millennials Will Lead. It is young women – millennials who thought the gender wars were behind us and are stunned at what older women have been tolerating – who are leading on this issue. 

Katie Couric tolerated Matt Lauer "pinching her on the butt" for years. Taylor Swift outed and sued the DJ who tried the same with her. Meryl Streep once called Harvey Weinstein “God” on Oscar night and claimed she didn’t know about his abuse of young actresses. Rose McGowan defied the Weinstein empire and publicly accused him of rape. The U.S. Congress established its own taxpayer-funded slush fund to handle these situations – and paid out $17 million over the last 20 years to cover them up. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and other women members of Congress led the demand for “zero tolerance” that toppled Senator Al Franken and Representative John Conyers.

2) Male Confusion is Unacceptable. This is not about flirting or extra-marital affairs.  The #METOO movement is about the pervasive male trespassing on women's bodies and psychological safety. Vice President Pence's solution of never having lunch or dinner with a woman without his wife is insulting to men who can control their sexual appetites.

3) Start With Our Kids. We must innoculate our girls to be prepared for the gender harassment virus they will inevitably face. They shouldn't be too shocked to protect themselves when it happens. And it's time to turn our attention to the gender norms our culture imposes on boys. We've spent decades teaching girls to be strong women. It's time to teach our boys the power of being sweet men.   

True leaders step up and lead at the right moment, which is nearly always long before it’s easy. We are at a moment in time when women’s evolutionary march toward equality is drawing us close to a critical mass of influence. We are finding the courage to raise our voices -- collectively. The non-apology apologies rain on deaf ears.  There is no turning back.

To my Sisters everywhere I plead, "Keep raising your voices." Begin by telling your stories to other women. Then share them with men who love you. Don’t wait for them to ask. Most don't know how. Or, perhaps they are afraid of what our answers will be. 

To my Brothers everywhere I ask, "Are you listening?"

The truth will set us free.  Have a peaceful holiday! Anne 

Bullying Boys and Bystander Enablers

October 13, 2017

 

Dear Global Friends/Thinkers,

 

Are you as shell-shocked as I am by the barrage of cultural and physical bullying dominating America's mindset?  The dysfunctional, nasty and even criminal behavior is so pervasive, with fresh examples coming so fast that I barely have time to soak in the implications of one before I'm stunned by the next. Las Vegas. Harvey Weinstein. Roger Ailes. "Don't you dare 'take a knee.'" Women's health is against my religion! Charlottesville. "Fire her!" I look at major news stories in a cultural context. Not as isolated events, but as connected threads and bellwethers of the society we are weaving. I'm distraught about the direction my country is heading. Bullying, backlash, fear and male power seem to be unchecked, while millions of bystanders lacking courage or moral fiber quietly enable the dysfunction. Where are our leaders?  

 

Here a few of my thoughts on current examples of America in cultural crisis. 

  

Harvey Weinstein Sexual Assault Scandal. Are you surprised? I'm not. Disgusted, yes. And furious that powerful men continue to prey on young women. Whether it's Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ailes, Bill Cosby, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Clarence Thomas, John F. Kennedy or sexual trafficking, domestic violence and child marriage, this has been going on for centuries.  Do I think that this scandal is a sea change? I doubt it. Instead, I see the present reaction to the Weinstein, Ailes and Cosby sexual assault scandals as very similar to our behavior following mass shootings, such as the recent massacre in Las Vegas. Big stories grab the headlines and our national attention for a few weeks, at most. But nothing will change. We'll continue allowing citizens to stockpile weapons of war, and boards of directors will continue protecting sexual assaulters who are good for the bottom line. Not until dismayed Americans DEMAND change and stop looking the other way, ignoring the rumors, doubting the victims and accepting "boys will be boys/locker room behavior," will anything change, except for one predator finally getting caught.  Sadly, our iceberg of sexual assult and hostile work environments for women is as large as the national arsenal of American citizens. 

 

Take-A-Knee --  I see Colin Kaepernick as a leader. A patriot willing to risk his career to help our nation live up to our ideals of equality. Becoming the "more perfect union" our founding fathers and mothers imagined and fought for, doesn't just happen. It takes courageous leadership.  Not just in the beginning, but always.  Athletes, beginning with other NFL players and growing to include the WNBA, high school students and entertainers who have followed Kaepernick's lead to protest police violence that disproportionately affects African Americans are not disrespecting our flag or our troops. They are taking responsibility as active citizens. Challenging, perhaps shaming us to live up to our purported values. Disrespect for our "united nation" is not taking a knee during a song. It is flying a Confederate flag, insulting a United States senator who was a prisoner of war, groping female citizens at will, tempting World War III. 

 

Quarterback Cam Newton Insults Female Sports Reporter -- I was not the least bit surprised to hear Panther QB Cam Newton's insulting response to an excellent question from NFL beat reporter  Jourdan Rodrigue. "It's funny to hear a female talk about routes,” Newton said, chuckling. "It's funny." No it's not funny. But the good news is that none of the other male sportswriters in the room enjoyed his joke. They met his comment with stoney silence. Then, multiple male journalists around the country wrote commentaries criticizing Newton's neanderthal behavior. Dannon Yogurt dropped him as a product spokesman.  It's not just in the world of sports where females have endured unwelcoming (and much worse!) work environments. It is only when male colleagues get "in the game" with us as vocal, active allies that our culture will truly overcome sexual harassment, misogyny and both conscious and unconscious bias. Thank you guys! 

 

Suspension of ESPN Host Jemele Hill -- Because I was one of the first female TV sportsbroadcasters in this country and helped open sports locker rooms to female reporters (1978-1984), I want ESPN host Jemele Hill to succeed. That's why I initially thought she made a mistake in calling President Trump a "white supremacist" on Twitter.  A "personal twitter feed' for a public figure is an oxymoron. There is no such thing. I thought she crossed the line between sports commenting and political commenting. But she persisted in speaking up about national issues that concerned her. Now, ESPN has suspended her for two weeks.  Raising your voice during times of crisis when too many others are silent, takes courage. So, instead of criticizing Hill, I'm wondering why a sports commentator or NFL athletes should be held to different standards than our President -- who has called for the firing of both Hill and kneeling NFL players. Keep raising your voice, Jemele.  We need you -- not only covering sports, but speaking your truth as a woman of color refusing to be silent about racism.  

 

Bernie Sanders Opening Speaker for Women's March Conference --  I don't get this. If your slogan is, "It's Our Time to Lead," why would you not model your own motto? Of course men are essential allies in the fight for women's equality. When Susan B. Anthony opened the very first National Conference of American women in Seneca Falls, NY in 1948, Frederick Douglas and other men were with her. But Anthony and other suffragists led the convention. Bernie Sanders is one reason why the historic opportunity to elect the first woman president slipped away; perhaps for my lifetime. So, I won't be at the Women's Conference to hear him speak, although it is being held this month here in Detroit. Instead, I'll be in Houston at the World Leadership Conference of the International Women's Forum. And guess who we'll be inducting into the IWF Global Hall of Fame? Hillary Clinton, a leader who has done more to advance women and girls all over the world than Bernie Sanders has ever thought about.  

 

Battle of the Sexes. Finally, if you haven't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and go see Battle of the Sexes, starring Emma Stone as the legendary Billie Jean King and Steve Carell as self-described "male chauvanist" Bobby Riggs.  It's great! And take a few Millenials with you (my 24-year-old son, Kevin, loved it.) Hopefully, the movie will inspire them to pick up the torch of women's equality. Millenials are my greatest hope for once again hearing women Roar. 

 

Raise your Voice!  Anne 

Gold Medal Sistering

April 13, 2017

If you know anything about construction, you know that beams and joists, be they wood or steel, are fundamental building blocks. But do you also know what the construction term"sistering" means? I just learned that "sistering" is all about making structural elements even stronger, by reinforcing them with additional support.

But sistering isn't just for construction. It's equally important for human progress. Significant social change demands not only individual bravery, the tenacity to stand your ground against inevitable resistance and, when necessary, the courage to fight for what is right. It also requires collective action -- standing shoulder-to-shoulder with others for greater impact and strength.  

If you're looking for modern-day examples, as I always am, look no further than the U.S. Women's Ice Hockey team whose members just taught a master class in the power of "Sistering." You may not know their story because even "big news" made by women is rarely given the media coverage it deserves. But the willingness of these world-class athletes to fight for fair compensation for their skills and to stand together for the development of women's hockey, led to one of the biggest leaps forward in the history of women's sports.   

In a nutshell, here's what happened. 

After years of pathetic compensation and disrespectful treatment by USA Hockey, the governing body of organized men's and women's amateur hockey, the U.S. womens' national hockey team threatened to boycott the IIHF World Championships just a few weeks before teams from Russia, Finland, Sweden, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Canada were scheduled to face off in Plymouth, Michigan. The women took their stand, risking the right to defend their World Championship, after 14 months of negotiations had stalled.  

To no one's suprise, rather than addressing the athletes' very legitimate concerns, USA Hockey tried to form a replacement team, contacting dozens of pro, college and high school players all over the country. But to their credit, women hockey players, who normally would have jumped at such an opportunity, stood with their hockey sisters and refused to play.

Members of the U.S. Women's Soccer team, who've been embroiled in their own compensation fight for years, added their support. Then, new allies appeared. Players' unions from Major League Baseball, the NHL, NBA, NFL as well as the U.S. national men's team and the National Women's Hockey League threw their support behind the women's fight. Even 16 U.S. Senators weighed in with public support.

Because the women stood up and stood together for what they believed was right, just days before the World Championships were set to begin, they won a four-year contract with USA Hockey that was a stunning victory for women's hockey and gender pay equity. Before their fight, America's best female hockey players earned only $1,000 per month in the six-months leading up to the Olympic Games. With their new contract, they will earn $70,00 in non-Olympic years and could earn up to $100,000 for medal bonuses in Olympic years. They also won travel per diems and medical insurance comparable to the U.S. men's team.

But their fight wasn't just about money. It was about the next generation of girls. Your daughters and granddaughters. The new contract requires USA Hockey to dramatically increase its investment in girls' developmental teams, as well as marketing and pr for this growing sport.

“We’re going to be able to grow the women’s game and give youth girls something to look up to, and that’s huge,” team-member Megan Keller told the Detroit Free Press. "It's about the future."

I was lucky enough to be in the sold-out, standing-room-only USA Hockey Arena for the final championship game when Team USA met Team Canada -- their arch rival and the definding Olympic gold medalists. As a former sports reporter who covered the Title IX battles of courageous girls who were forced to wear athletic cups by Little League coaches enfuriated that girls had won the right to compete for spots on their teams, it was a thrill to witness how far women's hockey has come in its 30 year history. The speed of the game and skill of the athletes gave me goosebumps. 

And it's no surprise that the women who achieved this precedent-setting victory are athletes who play a TEAM sport which requires the willigness and toughness to fight for the puck and dish out as well as take your hits along the boards. The Americans had something to prove that night. Their skill, guts and courage were all on display as they won their 4th straight World Championship Gold medal with a 3-2 overtime victory. 

Social progress isn't for sissies. Nor is it for prima donnas or Queen Bees who prefer being the only woman in the room to helping open doors for others. It takes courage, tenacity and collective support -- sistering. As Megan Keller told reporters, "The thing I think of is how everyone stayed together, not just this team, but the college player pool, the younger girls, other sports chiming in. It was amazing to see. You don't think it's that big now. But years down the road, we are going to look back and think, wow, we did that."

This was just one victory in the ongoing war for gender equality in every arena and on every continent. At a time when it feels as if women's progress toward the full equality I dream of has taken two steps backward, it warmed my heart to see young girls at the championship game holding home-made signs up against the glass for players to see which read, "Thank you for being bold."

Take a page from these millenial American sheroes. As the hash tag urges, #Be Bold for Change.  

Onward!  Anne 

A Severe Case of Testosterone Poisoning

March 22, 2017

"Where in the world is Anne Doyle?" "What happened to you?" "Why have you gone silent, Anne, when we need your voice more than ever?" Those are some of the email comments I've received from many of you lately. It's nice to be missed. 

There's a simple explanation for why you haven't heard from me for several months. I've been struggling to recover from a severe case of testosterone poisoning.

You may never have heard of this debilitating condition. But chances are you're infected, as well. Because the PH Power Balance (testosterone/acidic;estrogen/alkaline) in every nation on earth is perniciously distorted. And the USA is no exception. Testosterone levels in our public domain are off the charts, while our cultural estrogen is dangerously diminished. 

Like Kryptonite to Females. So what's the problem? For female human beings, I submit that repeated exposure to excessive levels of testosterone has the same impact that Kryptonite has on Superman in the DC comics universe. With every breath a girl or woman takes, her female powers are diminished by our toxic cultural air. 

Unlike Superman, however, we don't instantly notice the debilitating effects that excessive testosterone exposure has on us. After all, when everyone around you displays the same symptoms -- showing little more than polite anger over centuries of legal, economic and social servitude; continuing to raise the next generation of daughters and sons to unconsciously, passively accept our dysfunctional status quo; and being ever-so-careful to protect fragile male egos -- it's easy not to notice how distorted our culture has become. 

November 9th Overdose. It was in the wee hours of November 9th, 2016 that testosterone poisoning finally got the best of me. When it became clear to me (and to a stunned world!) that Americans had turned their backs on one of the most qualified humans ever to run for president of the United States and, instead, handed the controls of our national 747 over to a narcissistic, lying rookie without a pilot's license, I was physically sick. I had finally succumbed to the particularly virulent strain of raging male hormones that has infected our country and is metastacizing rapidly.

I slipped into a deep funk and, like Superman, needed to retreat to my "fortress of solitude" to regroup and regain my strength.

Of course I emerged, briefly, to participate in the Women's March in Washington, DC on Inauguration weekend. But even that experience was bittersweet. As I marched shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of of thousands of other outraged Americans, I couldn't help but wonder to myself, "Where were all of you in October when there was still time to prevent our testosterone-addicted nation from driving itself right off a cliff?" 

If you bristle at my use of the term "testosterone poisoning" to name the USA's greatest weakness, before you lash out at my resistance, I hope you will watch, Equal Means Equal -- the devastating and definitive documentary on the state of women in America. We are in free-fall.

And if you have a hard time recognizing situations and environments where testosterone has reached crisis levels, look no further than the recent performance on the global stage of our U.S. president who wouldn't deign to even glance at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, let alone shake her hand for the cameras. Our Testosterone-in-Chief is more comfortable groping women than acknowledging a female who is now widely regarded as the new leader of the Free World. 

PH Power Imbalance Impacts Both Genders. When I first started tracking the cultural impact of excessive testosterone levels, I thought it was only females who suffered the consequences, beginning with the loss of entitlement for themselves and other women to equal power with men to make decisions for the human family. It's my explanation for why 54% of white American women who voted in our recent presidential election chose a deeply flawed male over a highly-skilled member of their own tribe to lead our nation. But it doesn't explain why women of color -- 94% of African American women and 68% of Hispanic women -- made the opposite choice. Could it be that women of color are more resistant to the intoxicating power of white male testosterone than white females? 

The more I thought about all of this, the more I realized that males also suffer from the testosterone/estrogen power imbalance. Could it be a factor in the male bystander syndrome Harvard Business Review tackled this month? America's hormonal power imbalance, may explain why so many good men remain silent bystanders as other males behave outrageously toward women  -- from sexual harassment and gender bias in the workplace to gang rape, both physical and legislative. 

I suspect, regardless of gender, we're similar to frogs dropped into comfortable, warm water who never realize, until it's too late to jump for safety, that they are being cooked into lethargic paralysis. It's the cumulated effect over time that does us all in. 

An Old Soul To The Rescue. It was Tamara Kolton, a humanistic rabbi and dear friend who heard the wailing of my wounded spirit and retrieved me from my funk. She is much younger than I, but an old soul who understands the fire in my belly that has long fueled my quest for gender and human equality. 

"Anne, millions of people are in the same emotional funk you are these days," she told me. "But part of why your pain is so deep is because everything you believe in has been shattered. You've lost your work purpose. Your heart is broken." 

As she spoke those words, my heart sped up, my chest tightened and my eyes filled with tears. I was stunned at how emotionally I reacted. 

"You should write about your pain," Tamara told me. "It's a very personal story, but people can relate. You have a sense of history and the generations of courageous women who risked so much and worked so hard to get us to this point. Too many American women have no personal sense of the Sisterhood Struggle that brought us so close to an historic breakthrough." 

Tamara stirred my creative embers that have been stone cold for months. I've started writing again, working on a new book that is very different from the one I was writing before the world changed on November 8th. I do have a sense of where this book is headed, but a writing journey can take you in unexpected directions. As someone famous once put it, "I have to write to know what I think." I'll keep you posted. 

My Anguish Ripens to Rage. I was lucky enough to have parents who started immunizing me from early childhood, building up my ability to think authentically and function effectively even in work environments where testosterone was at toxic levels. Over the years, I've sustained myself with nature, horses, dogs, family, rejuvenating friendships and global travel. But I've never been immune to the impact. A lifetime of facing psychic insults, blatant pay and employment bias; never-ending vulnerability to sexual assault, and decades of taxation without representation have all taken their toll. And I'm one of the lucky, privileged females -- born white, American, middle-class and educated.

Now, decades down the road, as I observe the state of millions of the more vulnerable members of my female tribe, my anguish is ripening to rage!

If all I can be in my remaining years is a witness for our times and a spirit who refuses to go quietly into the night, so be it. In the meantime, the most powerful antidote I've found for repeated exposure to excessive testosterone levels is Sistering -- actively, visibly, supporting other living beings striving for human equality. 

Persist!  Anne 

The Anticipated Roar That Dissolved To A Whisper

November 15, 2016

November 15, 2016 -- Auburn Hills, Michigan USA 

Dear Global Friends/Thinkers: 

I have been in a state of shock, grief, horror and growing despair over our U.S. presidential election for the past week. Thank you to so many of you who have been in touch out of personal concern for  me, as well as over the implications for the entire global family of a Trump presidency. I've been trying to process my many, complex feelings.

I worked hard throughout this long, presidential campaign, hosting a Clinton campaign staffer in my home for months, helping to register voters and  knocking hundreds of doors.  I even dressed as a Suffragette for Halloween.

My first reaction was that of millions here in the United States and throughout the world: STUNNED SHOCK. Initially, it was nearly impossible for me to believe that American voters would put a rookie without a pilot's license at the controls of our national 747.  But they did. 

My shock was followed by GRIEF. I felt as if someone I loved deeply had died suddenly and unexpectedly. Instead of preparing myself for a possible loss, I was naively anticipating over-the-moon joy. Bearing bottles of champagne, close friends gathered with me to watch one of the most respected leaders in the world, a person who has been on the front lines of the global fight for the rights and empowerment of women and girls my entire life, help our nation take an historic and gigantic step forward for womankind and human rights. But that was not to be.

The day after the election, I received these beautiful flowers from a dear friend who was with me on election night. I burst into tears when I read the card with Helen Reddy's memorable words: "You can bend but never break me, for you'll only serve to make me more determined to achieve my final goal." 

The HORROR I feel began with the realization that my nation, which was founded with a system of checks and balances between the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of federal government, will have no BALANCE for at least the next two years. The Republican Party, with its conservative agenda that has had controlling women's rights at the top of its agenda for decades, will now control the U.S. presidency, both Houses of Congress, and nominations for the U.S. Supreme Court, as well as federal judgeships.  My horror has only continued to grow as I have heard the names of people Donald Trump is choosing and considering for positions of power and influence in his Administration. Mike Pence, vice president. Steven, Bannon, chief strategistRudolf Giuliani. Chris Christie. Sarah Palin. Newt Gingrich, Betsy DeVos and Dr. Ben Carson (possible Cabinet appointments). 

But it is my DESPAIR that has cut the deepest, because it is about everything I have stood for, believed in and worked towards for my entire adult life. There are two pieces to my depair.

The first is about one of the fundamental lessons of this historic election. If Hillary Rodham Clinton had been elected, which she actually was by the POPULAR VOTE, the story heard 'round the world would have been: "USA Takes Gigantic Step Foward Toward Gender Equality, Electing First Female President." But that's not what happened.


So, notwithstanding all of the other forces at work in this historic election, the fact that voters backed away from what would have been an historic and gigantic step forward for women is still a huge part of the story, and carries a brutal lesson. 

As I told WJR radio when they called me on election night, "The choice of a vulgar and frighteningly unprepared man to become president over one of the most qualified leaders ever to run for president of the United States is a stunning metaphor and powerful evidence that it just doesn't matter how QUALIFIED a woman is for leadership. Women as well as men are still willing to settle for a mediocre, offensive male leader over a woman they "just don't like." My deepest pain over this election result is one that millions of women share. We've had to come face-to-face with the stunning realization that even "dancing backwards and in high heels" isn't enough. Regardless of a woman's superior education, experience, track record, accomplishments, brainpower and work ethic, credentials will NEVER BE ENOUGH. As comedian Joy Behar profoundly put it, "I've learned from this election that a man can get away with ANYTHING, and a woman can get away with NOTHING." 

The other part of my despair has been about SISTERHOOD. I've come to believe that Hillary Clinton's biggest mistake in this election has been my mistake for decades. The idea that female human beings share a sense of sisterhood solidarity with collective clout that can be leveraged to help lift girls and women throughout the world was a fundamental building block of Clinton's campaign. It has also been one of my core values. "Every woman for herself is a losing strategy," is one of my mantras. 

Is Sisterhood a myth? I'm struggling with that. Hillary won women's votes overall (54%), thanks to the support of African American (94%) and Hispanic (68%) women. But I cannot fathom how or why white women -- who chose Trump over Clinton (53% to 43%) --  could turn their backs on a stunningly accomplished female leader who has been on the front lines of championing their economic opportunities and legal rights for over forty years.

In the 2008 presidential election, 96% of African American voters supported Barack Obama. If women had supported Hillary Clinton in numbers anywhere close to that, she would have been elected by a landslide. I'm having to come to terms with the fact millions of "my American sisters" were willing to accept an abundance of t-shirts reading "Trump That Bitch," yard signs advocating "Hillary for Prison" and even video evidence of Donald Trump's fondness for "pussy grabbing," while walking away from an unprecedented opportunity to make HER-STORY with powerful, positive implications for half of the human race.

As the Atlantic magazine wrote, "what women should strive for, how they should be treated, and even what they should havwe the right to do, are far from uncontested ideas in American society." 

I'm working to regain my joy and put my shoulder back to the evolutinary wheel pushing uphill for the human rights arc of history, with the help of friends and my fantastic son, Kevin, who took me out to dinner and a Marvel movie (Dr. Strange - it's great!) to get me out of my funk!

What's next? I have a plane ticket to be in Washington, DC in January for what I thought would be an Inauguration for the history books. I'm still going, but it will be to raise my voice and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with my like-minded Sisters and Brothers as part of the "Million Women March" at the Lincoln Memorial on January 21, 2017.  That, too, will be one for the history books.  

My only hope is to live long enough to hear women's whispering rise to a mighty roar. 

Sleepless in Motown, Anne 

 

Hear Us Roar!

October 16, 2016

Months of hateful language against multiple minority groups, as well as the proliferation of anti-Hillary signs and t-shirts proclaiming: "Lock her up!" or "Trump that Bitch!", were bad enough. But it was the explosive release of video evidence of Donald Trump in sexual predator mode that opened a cultural Pandora's box of gender pain, denial and outrage in America.  

I have my own litany of deep emotional bruises and scars from male interactions I've tried to forget. I've yet to meet a woman who doesn't. So, how am I dealing with all of this? I've often found myself humming Helen Reddy's powerful 1971 anthem. 

"I am woman, hear me roar. In numbers too big to ignore. And I know too much to go back and pretend." 

Wise Women Words

I've been soothed in the last 10 days by four powerful women who have raised their voices in outrage and shared their wisdom on how to keep reaching toward the light. They've given me hope that this painful labor is giving birth to another leap foward in human evolution. Women are on the rise throughout the world. And there is no turning back. 

"Cause I've heard it all before. And I've been down there on the floor. No one's ever going to keep me down again." 


Michelle Obama: "Enough is Enough."
In a speech for the ages, America's most respected public figure gave voice to women and girls everywhere who are all-too-familiar with the fear and pain of gender disrespect, humiliation and violation. If you have not heard her words, please listen. They will go down in herstory as a defining moment and a call heard round the world for women and men who respect and love them to stand up and roar, enough is enough! 

"Oh yes, I am wise. But it's wisdom born of pain. Yes, I've paid the price, but look how much I've gained."


Gloria Steinem:
"Go Toward Freedom."
Just a few days ago, I was lucky enough to spend an evening with Gloria Steinem on the campus of Michigan State University. What did Gloria say about what feels like a culturally dangerous time in America? 

She responded with the metaphor of domestic violence, telling the audience: "The most dangerous time for victims in abusive relationships is when they try to escape. That's when they are most likely to be killed or suffer the worst beatings. It takes great courage for victims to make the leap toward freedom." Steinem told us she is not surprised by the stunning, gender-specific backlash against the first woman to seriously challenge the male monopoly on the most powerful leaadership position in the world. "We have arrived at a moment in history where the female half of the human race is reaching a tipping point of escaping from thousands of years of subjugation in culturally-abusive relationships. No wonder it feels so dangerous,"Steinem, now 82, told us. "Take care of each other and keep pushing for equality for all. It is our only path to freedom." 

 "You can bend but never break me. 'Cause it only serves to make me. More determined to achieve my final goal. And I come back even stronger. Not a novice any longer. 'Cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul." 

Phumzile Mlambo-Nqcuka & Kah Walla:  "Why Are American Women So Quiet?" My third source of inspiration comes from two courageous African leaders I was with at the recent World Leadership Conference of the International Women's Forum. Over 900 women from 40 nations gathered in Chicago.

Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, was inducted into the IWF Hall of Fame at the conference. Kah Walla, a political leader from Cameroon who has been imprisoned multiple times for challenging and running for president against her nation's 32-year dictator president, was the closing keynote speaker. Both used their moments on stage to express their dismay and challenge American women to flex their collective clout.

"Why," Walla asked the stunned audience, "have American women been so quiet as one of the most respected leaders in the world -- who happens to be a woman -- has been repeatedly demeaned and insulted on the global stage?" 

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka put it this way: "Don't Americans realize that Hillary Clinton's election would not just be a breakthought for the U.S., it would be a world changer!" 

At moments like this, I ask myself, "What would Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Geraldine Ferraro and Coretta Scott King do if they were with us today? I have no doubt they would say, What are you waiting for? The moment is at hand. The world is watching and waiting." 

 "If I have to, I can do anything! I am strong. I am invincible. I am woman!" 

Let them hear you Roar!  

 

 

It's Time for Women to Stop Being Politely Angry

September 11, 2016

I just returned from a fascinating, yet challenging, one-week assignment in Trinidad & Tobago for the U.S. State Department. The U.S. Embassy there asked me to lead three days of workshops on both islands for local NGO leaders and change agents working to address gender-related, civil society issues. Rape, incest, domestic violence and religiously-sanctioned marriage of girls as young as 12 top their URGENT list.

This "Scourge of Abuse," as the banner in this photo correctly calls the crisis, has gone unchecked for centuries.  It is now a full-blown global epedemic with females of every age vulnerable to attack at any moment, be they citizens of a tiny, 2-island West Indies nation or the most powerful democracy on earth. There is not a country in the world where female members of the human race are safe from the ever-present threat of sexual harassment, physical abuse and violent death, often at the hands of their own family members.

Babies and very young children -- victims of incest. Wives of every social class -- violently abused and often murdered by their own husbands. Gang rapes in India. Nigerian school girls kidnapped and sold into sexual slavery. Rampant sexual trafficking of young girls and child pornography. Women of any age, from puberty to senility -- raped; in their homes, on college campuses and while serving their country as soldiers in the military. The statistics are staggering and sickening.  

Add to that shameful list the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that languish, forgotten for decades on crime lab shelves while serial rapists continue on their perverted paths of human abuse. 

I didn't go to Trinidad & Tobago bearing the gift of solutions. I wish I had them to give. I went seeking fresh insight for solving the "Scourge of Shame" we all rail against, as I went to lead workshops on collaboration and building allies for social change. 

One of the gifts I received was meeting U.S. Ambassador John Estrada. A native of Trinidad who came to the U.S. as a youngster and rose to become one of the highest-ranked officers in the U.S. Marines, Estrada is publicly raising his influential voice -- in speeches, in the news media and with government officials -- in opposition to child marriage and all types of gender violence. For him, it's personal. 

When he dropped by my workshop to show his support for the NGO leaders working for social change, the Ambassador didn’t just stick his head in and wave. He pulled up a chair and shared intimate memories of watching his mother being beaten by his step-father when the future Marine was too young to protect her. And he told how his own sister recently confided to him that she was sexually abused as a child by a relative. "Hurting females is a sign of weakness, not strength is what I want men to understand," he told us. 

I'm inspired and receive an injection of hope when I meet deeply committed male allies, such as Ambassador Estrada and Embassy Public Affairs Officer Stephen Weeks, who sponsored my visit. But I wake up in the middle of the night wondering, "Why is half of the human race still so passive as to allow our own tribe to be violently preyed upon day after day, year after year, century after century -- in our cradles, our homes, our campuses, our offices, our communities, our countries?  

At the beginning of the 21st Century, women throughout the world have achieved unprecedented levels of education, empowerment and leadership -- as individuals. But we are in kindergarten when it comes to leveraging our collective influence to fix the mighty wrongs still inflicted upon our half of the human race. 

We are naive if we believe gender violence will decline and women's influence will rise without a mighty fight. As Frederick Douglas, the former American slave who rose to become one of the greatest thought leaders of his time wrote, "Power concedes nothing without a demand."

Are you still "politely angry" over the rampant violence, sexism, outright mysogyny as well as lack of EQUAL POWER to shape the human condition of the human family? 

I'm done citing research and statistics until I am blue in the face, hoping logic and facts will trigger the long overdue, gender tipping point.  

I am too sickened by story after story of girls and women as victims. Too outraged over example after example of only TOKEN female representation in positions of power -- be it moderating presidential debates or taking our rightful seats in Congress and corporate Board Rooms. Too disgusted with criticisms of one of the most admired and accomplished women in the history of the world being picked apart, nibble by nibble, over trivialities. 

Change begins with our voices, our votes, our money -- and leveraging them collectively. Women have never been stronger; yet we are far from together enough to DEMAND and FORCE POSITIVE SOCIAL CHANGE. 

As you rise, I hope you will also challenge yourself to INSIST that your Global Sisters rise with you. Not someday. But now . . . on our watch. 

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