Posted by: ginalazenby | November 26, 2010

women’s gathering in Perth

One of the things I love to do while traveling is to host women’s gatherings. On this trip I hosted a wonderful circle in San Francisco (Novato, Marin) which was a re-convening of a circle we had on Global Women’s Enterprise (GWE) Day in November 2009 and then another circle in Sydney on GWE day this year (read the report). Since April 2008 my business partner, Mynoo Blackbyrn, and I have been co-hosting a London circle which we called The Women are Gathering.  It has been a source of personal and business nourishment for scores of women wanting to make a difference in the world through their own enterprises.

Mynoo has been based in Perth for the last 6 months so being in Sydney, you could say I was local ….so I called in to see her over in Western Australia and we co-hosted a delightful gathering of women.

The format is usually the same: we meet in a private or sacred space; we cook together, we eat together, we form community and we hold a business forum in a circle where we share who we are and what we might need support with. An additional conversation which we added to the mix for this meeting was: “If it were up to us women …. what would we do to change the world for the better?” I asked this question of the Sydney Gathering 2 weeks before and got some wonderful answers – read the report from Sydney.

This is a great question to take with me as I travel the world……. how will you answer?  what would you do?

Here are our answers from this gathering:

1 we must think outside the box…
the whole system needs to be looked at in a new way. Lateral thinking is needed everywhere for new answers. We must facilitate out-of-the-box thinking for new solutions.

2 let’s enquire into alternative finance
we must look at different financial systems and different way of managing resources. The greed demonstrated by the banks is widening the gap between the rich  and poor. Women must take a lead in seeking balance in the financial system.  These can spring from community initiatives and women can be enormously creative in developing these.

3 shift from un-caring economics to caring economics
it was noted that 55 years ago in Western Australia there were creeks with water and wildlife now that has all gone… and we have done that. “We have killed our bush …. it is being torn down for car parks!” We have got to think about the implications of our actions and care for our environment more instead short term destructive action. Years ago farmers in WA were taxed for leaving trees on their land that provided shade for sheep as the policy was to clear the land.

4 spread out the money more fairly, especially windfall prize money
why let one person win $15 million when so many more  could win and share the prize?  Spread it out more widely.  It was noted that WA has the only charity-based lotto while all the others are commercial ventures.

5 let sustainability guide our decisions
Every policy decision should be defined through the lens of sustainability and not vested interests. Cuba survived its oil shock in 1993 by turning to permaculture and bringing agriculture into the cities. The island is a great model for sustainability and this happened out of the necessity of losing support from Russia after glasnost in the early 90s. What they did is an inspiration for other communities.

6 personal power from self acceptance
Beyond self awareness is the ability to accept yourself, really get in touch with yourself.

7 heart-based education
we need to change the education system so that our children don’t just learn about being successful, they learn about compassion and how caring for each can make such a difference. There needs to be more emotional intelligence in the system and in the language. Life is not all about working hard.

8 let’s look at using litigation as a tool for change
What shifted the tobacco industry was litigation that started to hold the cigarette companies to account. Smoking was still specially acceptable until the class action cases were brought. Erin Brockovitch is a great example of fighting for change through the legal process.  Can we use litigation against our governing bodies for things we don’t like. Look at what Ecuador has done in assigning legal rights to nature.

9 link the cause and effect
get the companies who make the mess to clear it up …. eg McDonalds should be made to clean the streets of their litter.

10 companies to take full responsibility for the product cycle
manufacturers should take back their products and dispose of the materials instead of other agencies bearing the cost of this.

11 we need to take responsibility personally
we have the buying power in fact women are responsible for 80% of purchases. We can blame governments and companies but it is down to us individually being responsible for our decisions. As women we forget the power we have as consumers!

12 we need to connect and create more communities
we need to end the isolation that people experience. we must support and initiate projects where people can more easily be in communication and come together in community like street festivals. Beyond connection through social media we need REAL connection and community.

13 promote human dignity
Beyond human rights we need a campaign for human dignity: what do we value in ourselves and others?  What we value is where we show up in the world.  What are we honoring in life?

14 Value what we have
get present to the beauty of what we already have, see the perfection that is in the world and not just what does not work. Shift the focus to sufficiency and this will help us to thrive.

15 let’s have positive news
so many great and extraordinary things are happening in the world but our news channels only focus on negative things. we need to focus on positive initiatives to inspire us and give us hope. Paul Hawken talks of movement called Blessed Unrest with millions of NGOs working around the world to create change.


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