The past few days have been quite troubling for me, they have brought some epic realizations onto the female history and what NEEDS to change for us to regain our power and heal.
What do I mean by that?
Recently, I attended a technology seminar for my work as a Software Vendor. While I was there I couldn’t shake the feeling of being alienated, here I stood in a room of 300 people with a ratio of 1 female to 15- 20 men. And in this hall, I was maybe one or two women under the age of 30.
And what really struck me was the undeniable difference between men and women, in a general demeanor, the way of communicating and energy. I was taken aback by the presence of not only a large number of men but of men with a strong presence or power. If I’m blatantly honest, I didn’t feel like I was as powerful as the men in this room, I felt truly subpar.
As a self-proclaimed headstrong, fiery woman I found myself grappling with a gender identity crisis. What does it mean to be a woman? How do you define the female power? It is completely undeniable that our physiology is different to that of a man, our styles of think and problem solving is different.
If I tried to mimic the “male power” in that room, if I tried to act tough, aloof and unrefined not only would I not feel myself but I would have no doubts that everyone in that would smell that I was not being myself. In nature, I am friendly, outgoing, compassionate, witty, charming and inquisitive. Unprovoked, the “tough look” not only doesn’t fit but as a natural open book, makes me feel suppressed and insecure.
Days on, I approach the people in my life and ask them what it means to be a woman. Met with empathy and love by the strong women in my life I was filled with gratitude at a feeling of community and oneness. In response to my dilemma, there was one particular comment that left a searing question mark in my heart. After explaining how I took a back seat over the course of those two days and was really struck by the way women were spoken about like objects or possessions in small talk e.g. why don’t you stay have a good time, maybe find yourself a girl to take home later tonight. She said, “passivity, unfortunately, runs in the lineage of women.”
Later, I found myself watching some Ted-Ed videos on Youtube about myths from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome as well as history and stories from those eras. And what did I find? Passivity in the lineage of women. The women I learned about were not allowed to choose their husbands, were child brides, had very limited freedom, lived in fear of their lives, were passive, were recognized as the mother, wife or sister of the hero. And if they were the main hero, she was the seductress, luring men out of power and to their deaths e.g. Cleopatra and Helen of Troy.
The next day I spent a few hours researching women in history to try and debunk this missing representation of women in our history. Thinking to myself, women in the last few hundred years surely had to have done some incredible things, why don’t I know about them and why aren’t they famous. Surely we haven’t spent the last few hundred years doing nothing but popping out babies and seeing to the needs of our male counterparts.
To my relief there was no short supply of incredible women in the history of humankind, however, they were quite tricky to find.
Seeking an explanation for these missing pieces in recognized history, I came across an article in English Heritage with an answer.
“It’s the inconvenient truth that women have always been 50% of the population, but only occupy 0.5% of recorded history.”
Dr. Bettany Hughes explains that when civilized society was birthed these societies wanted to expand and when that happens muscle power is needed and society become more militarized. When this happened, so did was the gender powershift.
Between 40,000BC and 5,000BC 90% of figurines were of women. Women had positions of spiritual power such as priestesses and shamans, recognized as being the closest link to the higher powers or “God”. Women had property rights, were philosophers and poets.
In fact, when Spain first arrived in the Philippines to colonize, they were no less than shocked to find old women at the head and leading their spiritual practices. Which they later condemned as witchcraft, converting the Filipino people to Christianity.
To conclude, there is a 3,500-year gap in our history which has seen the lack representation of incredible females. And here we are in 2017, a largely un-militarized world, no longer looking to expand. “Muscle power” is no longer a cause for the survival and is no longer the power that will change the world. We in the last 3,500 year we have lost touch with our identity and with our power and it is crucial to recovering the stories of incredible women who changed the world so that we will be equally represented in education and famous historical records.
Women like Rosalind Franklin whose research on the DNA molecules proved to be crucial in Crick and Watson’s discovery of the structure of DNA or Amy Johnson who served with her life on the Air Transport Auxiliary in the first world war and who was also the first woman to fly from England to Australia.
It is time to stand together and empower one another.