Sunday, February 12, 2017

Revolutionary Road

Sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are,
sometimes pressing 'send' is not enough . . . .
This is the upside of the downside. This is an outpouring
of democracy like I've never seen in my very long life.
~ Gloria Steinem

January 21, 2017 was a remarkable outpouring from women marching in solidarity all over the world. More than a peaceful democratic movement, this revolutionary spirit contains the potential to change the world.

Women acting together to disrupt the status quo has proven to be the most effective way to create change. A study of 40 peace processes in 35 countries over the past three decades has proven how effective women can be as agents of change.

Women, organized as a political party, like the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition; or as a movement to end hostilities in Liberia, almost always succeed in reaching an agreement, and bring a higher chance of implementation. For this reason, United Nations Resolution 1325 calls on countries to increase participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all peace and security efforts.

Women are natural bridging leaders who tend to reach across ethnic and religious divides, thinking ahead of realities "the day after," according to research at Inclusive Security, a think tank based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The peaceful revolution that we saw at the Women's March awakened women who have never been involved before, tapping into the way we connect and seek meaning in our lives, how we transmit values over generations, and weave patterns using a common thread.

The Women's March gave me a jolt of inspiration as 2017 begun, followed by an extra dose of hope when I met organizers of the Women Wage Peace movement in Israel. Moved by a sense of unity that instantly passed between us, we understood each other without words. They felt I was "with them," sharing a common bond as women who want to create change, kindred spirits traveling on a revolutionary road together.

The diversity of women in this movement - Christian and Palestinian Arabs, Bedouins, Druze; secular, religious, far right and liberal Jews; settlers and kibbutzniks - transcends political realities and the pervading skepticism about finding partners in the elusive pursuit of peace.

Just as I wept marching with women from all walks of life in Washington DC, these hard boiled Israelis told me how tears were shed as Arabs and Israelis embraced joyfully when they met along the banks of the Jordan river.

If there is any doubt that women will make change happen, my fellow revolutionaries around the world assure me by marching for others whose voices may never be heard. Change is on its way, however long it takes and however difficult the road ahead.