March is Women’s History Month. The fact that women have a “history month” only serves to convince me that we’re still considered a minority and still compartmentalized, just like every other group that is given a “history month.” To me, these sorts of concessions are designed to get us to sit down, shut up and be content with the way things are. Anyone who’s read my writings knows that that is just not me.
Here are some statistics that in this day and age should frighten you:
Even in a country like the United States which prides itself on being a leader in the progression of women’s rights, women are still dreadfully underserved in terms of education and opportunity. While we criticize other countries for keeping women unskilled and uneducated by tearing down their schools, in this country we do something equally crushing – we find ways to tear down their dreams. With all the progress we’ve made there are still too many women both older and younger, who feel inadequate in so many ways. Whether it’s with the way they look, how capable they feel, or how talented they think they are, there is a pervasive self-doubt that runs through too many, a doubt which is perpetuated by the media and is at the core of so many of our society’s problems.
For example, did you know that one in five high school girls have been physically and/or sexually assaulted by a dating partner, significantly increasing their risk of drug abuse, suicide and other harmful behavior? And that part of the reason for this is because the girl is too afraid of making a fuss or worried about being made fun of to ask her date to stop? Did you also know that nearly twice as many women as men are affected by a depressive disorder, and that women between the ages of 25-44 are most often affected by depression with a major cause of it being the inability to express or handle anger?
In addition, unrealistic expectations of women today, at ever younger ages, are creating intense stress for them. According to a Girls Inc. nationwide survey, girls are getting the message that they have to be athletic, get top grades, be well-dressed, be thin and beautiful, and all at the same time. Then when they’re grown, in addition to be perfect mothers and wives, they’re expected to look young forever and be financially successful while doing so. This impossible to reach “super-girl” societal standard has intensified in the twenty-first century and is causing women of all ages to feel like failures. And feeling like a failure makes people depressed, angry, and unfulfilled.
So, you tell me, how do you think it impacts our nation and even the world if approximately 50% of its inhabitants feel depressed, angry, and unfulfilled? How does this affect their life outlook, their ability to be good mothers, employers, employees, or even just good citizens? The issue of women and their self-esteem affects all of us. That’s why I believe we all have to do our part to help girls and women feel healthy, powerful, and satisfied even if they don’t meet our distorted modern media requirements of what it means to be a woman.
To this end, I’ve founded The Women’s PowerStrategy Conference, “a gathering of leaders from diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise who are joining forces to educate and inspire women of all ages to believe and invest in their own talents, skills and potential.”
After making the decision to present the first of these conferences, I was blown away by the number of remarkable individuals who readily volunteered to share their talents for it. Just to name a few, we have the California Arts Council Chair, Malissa Shriver who is getting up at an ungodly hour and leaving her two small children with a sitter, so she can make a 7:00 a.m. flight from Los Angeles to be our keynote speaker, and then turn around and fly home the very same day. We have the founder of a wonderful women’s organization, A Band of Wives, Christine Bronstein who is taking time out of her hectic schedule to talk about why she believes women’s friendships with each other are so vital to their well-being. We have Comedy Central comedian Joe Klocek who is going to lead a panel of very intriguing men in answering questions about relationships — the answers to which we’d all like to know. Also joining us is Lifestyles editor of The Marin Independent Journal Vicki Larson, San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top Chef” pick Marisa Churchill, Jefferson Starship’s lyricist and activist, Jeannette Sears, producer Jody Weiner, and executive editor of Marin magazine, Mimi Towle. Authors who will be speaking include Zoe Fitzgerald Carter, Deborah Grabien, Dr. Ransom Stephens, and KRCB radio host, Gil Mansergh. And these are just some. Visit the Conference Speaker Page to see the full list of names of all the marvelous speakers who are giving of their time and expertise to be part of this day-long event which features talks and workshops on everything from technology to relationships, to finding courage to achieve what you wish, to business to healthful eating, that will leave every attendee motivated to live his or her best life.
Though the conference is aimed at women ages 13 to 113, men are also encouraged to attend with their partners, wives, girlfriends, daughters and friends. As you can see, a number of our speakers are men who also believe that to invest in the power and potential of women is to create a better society for us all.
But here’s the best part: for every adult ticket purchased, The Women’s PowerStrategy Conference will sponsor one girl to attend the entire conference, meet the speakers, and enjoy a delightful lunch, free of charge. Included among those girls will be high school students from the host school, San Domenico School, as well as local chapters of Girls Inc., including Girls Inc. of Alameda, Island City, and West Contra Costa, who all recently received the Global Citizen Award for Outstanding Achievement in Girls’ Education and Gender Equality from the UN Association. For over 50 years, these Girls Inc. affiliates have responded to the unique needs of girls in the most underserved communities of San Francisco’s East Bay through a continuum of academic enrichment programs that challenge girls to explore their potential, develop life skills, ensure college and career success, and expand their sense of what is possible, inspiring them to be “strong, smart, and bold.”
The conference takes place on March 24, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. till 5:30 p.m. at the San Domenico School in San Anselmo, CA. There is also a Plus One Press cocktail reception to follow at another nearby location. I urge you to attend this conference if you’re able to, and take advantage of the talent we’ve lined up, or participate as a vendor. But if you can’t attend, please consider sponsoring a girl or making a donation, anyway. And if you can’t do that, then please, if this is a cause you believe in, help spead the word by copying the URL of the short public service announcement video below and pass it on but pasting it to your Facebook page or sending it out to your email list.
I’m really proud of The Women’s PowerStrategy Conference and I hope you’ll stand with us on March 24, 2012.
Patricia V. Davis
editor-in-chief, Harlot Sauce Radio, and Founder of The Women’s PowerStrategy Conference
Last 5 posts by Patricia V. Davis
- On the “Muslim Riots” and More - November 4th, 2012
- Podcast Interview: Movie Critic Gilbert Mansergh’s Marvelous Tribute to His Marvelous Mom - November 3rd, 2012
- Profiling by the California Highway Patrol in Oakland, California: More Inclusive Than You Might Think - November 3rd, 2012
- Radical Zionism vs. Radical Islam, Radical Islam vs. Radical Zionism: A War of Words that is Working - October 5th, 2012
- "And Suddenly I Realized My Liabilities Were My Assets" Malissa Feruzzi Shriver, Chair of the California Arts Council, at The Women’s PowerStrategy Conference 2012 - April 30th, 2012