For world peace to happen, the voices of women must be heard. I know this because I listen to women. I know this because I am a woman and feel it in my bones. When women have spoken, we have been silenced. When women have spoken, we have been ridiculed, threatened, shamed, punished, beaten, imprisoned and murdered. The suppression of our voices, the decisions made behind closed doors in rooms that we continue to be prevented entry, have served to maintain and continue to escalate this violence and exclusion. Exclusion that has resulted in poverty, lack of health care, lack of access to free education, lack of freedom of choice, lack of caring for the earth, and routinely, the death of women and girls who step out of line.
For world peace to happen we need to address and change the system which has been built over centuries and which is designed to maintain a world in which men have control, and in which men control women. We are told that this is the way it has always been, that this is the way it is meant to be. Societies that have existed and do exist with women leaders, communities living in harmony, are part of hidden history. What women have accomplished as courageous leaders, as brilliant writers and scientists, as powerful athletes, as defenders of the earth, as protectors of their communities continues to be hidden. “Traditions” have been put into place that profoundly harm girls and women. The vast majority of women worldwide have faced violence and continue to be restricted in movement, in life choices, in expression of our opinion that life can be different. New forms of violence continue to be invented with impunity.
When women speak up we are told that that we are being unrealistic, unreasonable and dangerous to the correct order of society. That men are meant to be in control. Women may enforce this system to stay safe themselves. Many current religions reinforce this. Politicians reinforce this. Business owners, even teachers reinforce this. But we did not create this. When we question these rules, we are told either that “this is the way it is meant to be” or that “change takes time”. Our foremothers were told that change takes time. For centuries we have been told that change takes time. I understand now on a deeper level after watching generations being taught the same message, that this is the excuse to not face change. That we have no business speaking about this. Who made up these rules? Not women. Who is being so controlled? Women. This is patriarchy.
The system we are facing is one in which the world economy is controlled largely by men, men who have developed an economic system that breeds an obscene difference between people, with largely untaxed money held privately offshore in the hands of a very few, with corrupt government systems that have created extreme poverty, lack of medical care, unattainable education costs, ruination of the earth and increasingly vicious methods of war, with more people than ever before in forced migration, and with extinction of animals - all forming the disastrous direction we are hurtling toward - self annihilation. We are told that change is unrealistic. We know that this is not true. As women, as givers of life, as mothers of children we continue to be silenced. As women we are chastised for speaking about this control of women by men, called biased, man-haters, while boys and men continue to be taught that they have the right to silence any woman who speaks out. Girls are murdered for being in public or defying the rules of their fathers. Boys are taught that to grow into a man acceptable to other men, that they need to control women, that as men they need to protect the power of men to control the world. This is patriarchy, and this is what needs to change.
As long as the current priorities are in place, we see little change. The earth and its people are extremely and dangerously off balance, and it is the silencing of women that maintains this direction as we free fall toward ruin. With every woman and girl who is silenced, or murdered, we fall deeper. As women we know what is needed. We have a different vision. We feel, we mourn the lack of peace and security daily. We experience the closed doors, the ridicule, the violence when we step forward to say that there is another way, a way that would benefit everyone. That these simple and humanitarian measures have not been put in place long ago speaks to the selfishness of those determined to keep privileged lives for themselves, both in individual families, and on a world leadership level. If offshore moneys were taxed fairly we could solve world poverty and put in place global medical care. If we as women were to have respect with equal voice, we would rearrange priorities, ending violence, ending poverty and ending war.
For world peace and security to happen, the priorities of women need to be in place. Everyone with homes, enough food to eat, safe water to drink, forests protected. For world peace to happen we need wars to end, gun running to stop, and all forms of violence against women and girls, and against men and boys who refuse to take part in the current expectations of “manliness’, to end.
We need to change the narrative. The idea that men have the right and duty to dominate women was made up by men. It is a lie that continues to be not only told but horribly enforced. That women want to do to men what men have done to us is also a lie, promoted to undermine our intentions and to create fear of change. We need the truth of history to be brought forward. It has not always been this way, and it is not this way these days, everywhere. We need societies in which women leaders are present, and respected for the unique perspectives we have to offer. We need gentle men to step forward and teach boys that gentleness and fairness is of benefit to them as well, and that men do not have the right to ever harm women or girls. We need community meetings on every level. We need free schooling for every child on this planet, schooling that does not hide the truth of where we are at now, and that encourages moving forward together, encouraging the best in every child, education that encourages the brilliance of girls to thrive and lead the way to a different future.
We need to to live in harmony with the land. We need to live in harmony with each other. We need the truth to be told, that what has been missing for far too long, what is missing today, and what is needed for our future is the leadership of women.