“Women: The Greatest Natural Resource.”
I recently finished reading a book entitled “Meena” by Melody Ermachild Chavis. Meena Kishwarkamel, founded RAWA, a woman’s organization that supported democratic ideas and woman’s freedoms in Afghanistan. The book has inspired me to seek after woman’s issues that I feel are meaningful and important in the support and development of woman’s rights and freedoms. I often find I gravitate towards works by women who have taken on challenging circumstances and made significant improvements in their communities and societies. Helping women find a place, find personal fulfillment, and develop strong identities is usually a common agenda in my classroom and in my choreography.
I have been inspired to consider agencies and organizations that are working towards positives changes for women in various countries around the world. Currently, my next choreographic project is brewing as I continue the research process of women and social change.
I am not interested in creating a new chauvinism for women. I don’t believe in one gender being greater than the other. Degrading men and their roles in society is only using the same system of power that has oppressed women. Breaking down power systems so genders can still be different yet equally valued is extremely important to me. I am interested in the power of combining talented women who want to contribute to causes and change in their local communities as well as combat issues through constructive collaborations.
Some of the questions I’m considering in the beginning stages of my research include the following:
In what ways are women oppressed in the public and social arenas in both western and non-western settings?
What are the examples of women and organizations that have made positive changes to increase freedoms and rights for women?
What are current issues that I feel are meaningful and worthwhile to explore in relationship to woman’s issues?
How can a strong women presence be developed without degrading and blaming male genders?
How can chauvinism be avoided even in feminist work and what agencies support these ideals?
What attitudes and behaviors support negative identities of women in their societies?
What organizations or power systems are most destructive to woman’s rights and freedoms?
How are woman’s “freedoms and rights” being defined and what definitions do I mostly connect with?
What agencies and agendas support ideals about woman’s rights that I can contribute to?
What women do I admire? What resources can I tap into to understand them and their interests?
This question list is elementary, I know. I learn best by starting simple and expanding from there. These ideas and questions will continue to develop through my own studies and creative explorations about women and issues affecting women now.
I would love any comments from all that may contribute to my list of questions as well as offer examples of inspiring women or stories in regards to woman’s issues.
Kristen Jeppsen Groves