The Widdershins

Archive for March 9th, 2015


“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” — Madeleine Albright

Good afternoon, Widdershins! I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

As we have no doubt read on Teh Google and all over the Interwebz, yesterday was International Women’s Day. There were a lot of events and discussions to celebrate it, including one in which yours truly was a panelist.

Now, I generally agree that one day, or even one month, of awareness and activism is not nearly enough to elevate women to equal status in the world. However, I do think that a small stone can cause a large ripple…and just because the patriarchy isn’t giving us a lot to work with, doesn’t mean we can’t use it to do the unexpected and awesome, in the true sense of the word.

Today I’d like to showcase one woman who has gone through a singular journey of self-discovery. First she embraced corporate America and bought into its vision of success; then, she rejected it, and created her own reality to express her female awesomeness – and help others express theirs. Her name is Katharine Zaleski.

At first, Ms. Zaleski was one of those women who belong in that “special hell” described by Madeleine Albright. In particular, she cringes when she thinks about the way she used to treat working mothers. She describes several incidents she remembers in particular, one of which I’ll quote:

4. I scheduled last minute meetings at 4:30pm all of the time. It didn’t dawn on me that parents might need to pick up their kids at daycare. I was obsessed with the idea of showing my commitment to the job by staying in the office “late” even though I wouldn’t start working until 10:30 am while parents would come in at 8:30 am.

What changed her mind? As you might suspect, she continued to avoid the “dawn” until she had a child of her own – a daughter – and realized just how high that corporate ladder had suddenly become.

I read Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, thinking it would motivate me. It only depressed me more. To me, the message was clear: put up with the choices made by a male-dominated work culture if you want to succeed. I reread Anne Marie Slaughter’s piece on “Why Women Can’t Have It All.” It just painted another reality that I had contributed to until it became my own problem.

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Blog Archive

March 2015
« Feb   Apr »

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Take the kids to work? NO!

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22 months to go.

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Dems are coming for ya