LIISBETH DISPATCH #62

Having a baby in pandemic times, being at home with your values, and if a professional matchmaker can be a feminist . . .

Photo by qinghill on Unsplash

WHAT WE’RE THINKING ABOUT 

If there’s a silver lining to living through a pandemic, it’s that we’ll come out on the other side with better ways of caring for ourselves, each other, and the generations that follow. We’re adjusting the ways we connect and meet new people, and literally constructing the future in which we’ll live.

How we do things has changed—from curbside deliveries to online universities to having 700 video meetings a week. But why we do things remains constant. Foundational things such as climate change policy, power structures and economic systems that create inequality have not changed at all—and aren’t these the things that need to change the most?

LiisBeth is pivoting our business along with you. You are invited to join us in the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC) to Work It Out Together (WIOT—rhymes with RIOT). This month we are proud to host Bianca Sprague and Natalie Marchand of Bebo Mia as our Feminists in Residence. Check out the feature article about how they created their organization on feminist business practices versus advice from traditional business coaches.

NEW FEATURES ON LIISBETH 

Photo Credit: Riley Snelling

AT HOME WITH YOUR VALUES

A construction co-op that strives to stop exploitation of workers, women and the environment.

Photo by Jana Sabeth on Unsplash

CAN A PROFESSIONAL MATCHMAKER BE A FEMINIST?

According to matchmaking industry insider Anne Marshall, the answer is yesand it makes for better matches.

Bianca Sprauge and Natalie (left to right)
Photo credit: Courtesy of Bebo Mia

HAVING A BABY IN PANDEMIC TIMES

May 2020’s Feminists in Residence in the Feminist Enterprise Commons (FEC) are fighting to support birther’s rights through COVID-19; luckily, they had the foresight to shift business online years earlier.

PK’S VIEWPOINT

WHY THE WORLD NEEDS FEMINISM, NOW

Let’s first acknowledge we are collectively grieving our old world, and witnessing the birth of a new one.

But what kind of world will that be? What do the leading indicators tell us? When will we re-focus on the the bigger picture?

Last week, a few members (CV Harquail, Jenna Smith, Doreen and Dr. Barbara Orser) of the Feminist Enterprise Commons joined the weekly drop in cafe.

FEC’ers in the FEC (Feminist Enterprise Commons) Will you join us? 

The Feminist Enterprise Commons, launched in January as a way to connect LiisBeth readers and stakeholders.

The Commons currently has 80+ members who have collectively generated over 6000 posts and messages. Apparently, we have a lot to talk about!

The FEC is grassroots. It’s about sharing experiences, learning, refining works in progress in a safe space, and creating opportunities for feminist entrepreneurs and innovators. And best of all–it’s NOT FACEBOOK. That means no algorithms, no ads, and no surveillance.

Check out the FEC here. As a newsletter subscriber, we offer you not only two months–but THREE months free!

LIISBETH FIELD NOTES

We have good news to share!  LiisBeth has been nominated as a finalist for General Excellence in Digital Publishing by the Canadian Digital Publishing Awards organization!  We could not be more proud of our amazing core editorial team (Margaret Webb, Lana Pesch, Mai Nuygen, and Champagne Thomson) plus our over 40 contributors, supporters and our amazing volunteer advisory board.

We are feeling great about being recognized alongside all the other amazing publications nominated! We need more indie media in these times.

We will keep you posted on the final outcome.

Prateeksha Singh, Head of Experimentation, UNDP AP Regional Innovation Team 

WHAT ARE THE “NEW NORMALS”?

This short feature by Prateeksha Singh, Head of Experimentation, UNDP AP Regional Innovation Team points to trends shaping predictions about our “#newnormals”.

  • Tech is mutating and shaping us in new ways
  • Governance is taking a new center stage
  • Uncharted economic territory
  • Exponential social distancing and collective connectivity
  • The climate change opportunity and threat

Later this month, watch for our feature interview with Singh and her perspective on the pandemic from her home in Bangkiok, Thailand.

FREE DOWNLOADABLE!

DIGITAL ACTIVISM. DOES IT WORK?

If you are interested in exploring other digital activist tools and ideas, This Digital Activism and Non-Violent Conflict research paper (2013) serves as a terrific backgrounder.

The paper provides answers to questions like “What are the key international trends in non-violent digital activism and how has this phenomenon changed over time? How do we define digital activism success and what  contextual factors correlate with this success? How can we define the democratic and peace-building effects of digital activism?”

Their work continues here: Digital Activism Research Project

It’s hard to get our message across as an advocate or activist when we are quarantined–or is it? Check out how you can use Zoom backgrounds to advance your purpose and causes you care about.

ZOOM BACKGROUNDS — A WAY TO EXPRESS YOUR PERSONALITY AND DRIVE SOCIAL CHANGE?

In this video, PK Mutch shares an idea about how to leverage Zoom backgrounds to advance your message or cause!

Roshi Joan Halifax is a zen abbot and medical anthropologist.
This meditation is featured in the episode “Finding Buoyancy Amidst Despair” of the podcast OnBeing with Krista Tippett.

ENCOUNTERING GRIEF: A 10-MINUTE MEDITATION WITH ROSHI JOAN HALIFAX

We don’t need to explain why we’re including a meditation on grief this month. Try and find 10 minutes to sit, listen, and breathe.

Roshi Joan Halifax is a zen abbot and medical anthropologist. She is the founding abbot of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico. In this guided meditation, she shares nourishing wisdom as we face suffering in the world, helping us to find the inner resources to carry our own grief and sadness and that of others.

Another timely gem from from OnBeing is Krista Tippett’s Living the Questions segment. Listen to her 10-minute response to: How can I find my footing in a shifting world? 

Lastly, Falling Together is a conversation between Rebecca Solnit and Krista Tippett. In this moment of global crisis, we’re returning to the conversations we’re longing to hear again and finding useful right now. A singular writer and thinker, Solnit celebrates the unpredictable and incalculable events that so often redeem our lives, both solitary and public. She searches for the hidden, transformative histories inside and after events we chronicle as disasters in places like post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.” (Source: OnBeing.org)

The Art of Online Dating | Sarey Ruden | TEDxDetroit

LOVERS IN A DANGEROUS TIME

It’s a page from the ancient Greek comedy, Lysistrata, where all the women go on a sex strike to stop a war.

Fast forward 2,400 years and meet Detroit-based artist Sarey Ruden. After years of online dating disasters, Ruden created Sareytales, a collection of art and designs inspired by the creepy, cruel and misogynistic messages she received during her online dating journey.

Earlier this year, Ruden launched AWOL: All Women On Line — A Week-Long Protest to Raise Awareness to Gender-Based Dating App Injustice and Abuse.

She is asking all women who use online dating platforms to go silent for one week starting May 9, 2020.

Why May 9? In 1960, this is when the FDA approved the first commercially available birth control, liberating woman to decide when, or if, they want children. 60 years later though, we still face oppression in all aspects of our lives. Online dating is at the cross-hairs of this cyber-violence and gender-based abuse, and this blatant disregard for our safety is a human rights violation.

(Source: Sareytales.com)

Photo credit: Twitter

LISTEN TO CHICAGO’S LESBIAN LEADER

Let’s face it, global leadership needs work. And even though Elizabeth Warren dropped out of the US election this year, there are some strong women providing guidance, insight, and support to get us through this pandemic.

This week, CTV News talked to the Canadian Women’s Foundation about the importance of women in STEM leadership roles. “Women tend to be more inclusive in their decision-making and listen to diverse perspectives” says Andrea Gunraj, VP of Public Engagement, Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Young girls are watching this story unfold along with the rest of us and they need to see that leadership roles in  STEM are real possibilities for their future. If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.

The article further highlights Canadian women leadership in the health and political sectors as well examples from around the world. The shortlist includes Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, and President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan.

Meanwhile, in Chicago…Bil Browning, Editor-In-Chief of LGBTQ Nation, identified a beacon of hope and humour helping them through the crisis.

Browning writes “Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot has become the new face of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for her stern no-nonsense attitude. Memes of the mayor chastising crowds have swept the internet after she confirmed that she had personally driven around last week telling people gathered outside to social distance or go home.”

Check out the full article to see more impactful and entertaining images that have been circulating on social media.

WHAT WE’RE READING 

In this landmark collection spanning three centuries and four waves of feminist activism and writing, Burn It Down! is a testament to what is possible when women are driven to the edge. The manifesto—raging and wanting, quarreling and provoking—has always played a central role in feminism, and it’s the angry, brash feminism we need now.

Collecting over seventy-five manifestos from around the world, Burn It Down! is a rallying cry and a call to action.

Among this confrontational sisterhood, you’ll find

• “Dyke Manifesto” by the Lesbian Avengers
• “The Ax Tampax Poem Feministo” by the Bloodsisters Project
• “The Manifesto of Apocalyptic Witchcraft” by Peter Grey
• “Simone de Beauvoir’s pro-abortion Manifesto of the 343
• “Double Jeopardy: To Be Black and Female” by Frances M. Beal
• “The Futurist Manifesto of Lust” by Valentine de Saint-Point
• “Zapatista Women’s Revolutionary Laws”
• “Riot Grrrl Manifesto” by Bikini Kill
• “Anarchy and the Sex Question” by Emma Goldman

Breanne Fahs argues that we need manifestos in all their urgent rawness—their insistence that we have to act now, that we must face this, that the bleeding edge of rage and defiance ignites new and revolutionary possibilities is where new ideas are born.

(Source: AK Press)

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 is changing the world one country at a time.

This Korean bestseller chronicles the everyday struggle of women against endemic sexism. Its provocative power springs from the same source as its total, crushing banality: in telling the story of Kim Jiyoung – whose name is the Korean equivalent of “Jane Doe” – Cho Nam-Joo’s third novel has been hailed as giving voice to the unheard everywoman.

Kim Jiyoung is a girl born to a mother whose in-laws wanted a boy.

Kim Jiyoung is a sister made to share a room while her brother gets one of his own.

Kim Jiyoung is a female preyed upon by male teachers at school. Kim Jiyoung is a daughter whose father blames her when she is harassed late at night.

Kim Jiyoung is a good student who doesn’t get put forward for internships. Kim Jiyoung is a model employee but gets overlooked for promotion. Kim Jiyoung is a wife who gives up her career and independence for a life of domesticity.

Kim Jiyoung has started acting strangely.

Kim Jiyoung is depressed.

Kim Jiyoung is mad.

Kim Jiyoung is her own woman.

Kim Jiyoung is every woman.

Sources: The Guardian and Simon & Schuster)

AND FINALLY . . . IN CASE YOU MISSED IT!

  • UN Women published a new policy brief on April 9 which identifies three main policy priorities. 1) Ensure women’s equal representation in all COVID-19 response planning and decision making; 2) Drive transformative change for equality by addressing the care economy, both paid and unpaid work; and 3) Target women and girls in all efforts to address the socio-economic impact of COVID-19. You can read the whole report here. (Thank you Astrid Pregel)
  • What does COVID-19 mean for the future of political organizing? Jonno Ravanche’s April 16 article in BITCH Magazine suggests we “Move from the micro to the macro, away from our competitive, consumerist culture to build a collective identity and repair our public infrastructure.”  We agree. But this article, along with the many others like it that have been recently published focus on policies that address women wage earners–and not women entrepreneur or business owners. #feministbiz matters
  • Is the Nova Scotia mass shooting white male terrorism? In an April 23 article, Robyn Bourgeois writes “Addressing mass murder means taking a hard look at white masculinity and the normalization of violence.” Bourgeois also points out that white men were responsible for or currently face charges for the mass murders at the École Polytechnique in 1989, Mayerthorpe in 2005, Moncton in 2014, Calgary in 2014, Québec City in 2017, Toronto in 2018 (a van attack) and Fredericton in 2019. Those in Vernon, B.C., in 1996, Edmonton in 2014, and Toronto in 2018 (the shooting in the city’s Greektown neighbourhood) were perpetrated by racialized men. Thank you Dr. Barb Orser for bringing our attention to this article.
  • Moving Into the Mall? Duncan Cameron makes a compelling argument in his article, “It’s time to repurpose dying retail spaces for community housing” that was published by Rabble.ca on April 28. “Every city in Canada has strip malls, and small and large shopping centres, now subject to the crisis in brick-and-mortar retail that began with the explosion of online shopping, and has only accentuated with the imposed economic shutdown. This is the time for the federal government to step up and work with the civic administrations to develop a strategy to convert these dying retail spaces into vibrant community housing.” An idea whose time has come!
  • Interested in a good old fashioned barter system? John Porter, veteran barter commerce entrepreneur and founder of Barterpay.ca, had no idea the kind of impact COVID-19 would have on his business. BarterPay is what it sounds like: A platform where businesses can obtain a variety of goods and services by trading excess inventory or idle time. No cash is exchanged. The organization has 4000 members in locations across Canada and offers an alternative for businesses who have been stopped in their tracks by the pandemic. Barterpay is offering FREE WEBINARS to learn more about the service. And The Hamilton Spectator recently spoke to Porter about the alternative payment ecosystem that is gaining popularity with a younger generation.

That’s a wrap for Dispatch #62! 

Just over six weeks into the pandemic, and hey, along with all the hard stuff, we have to admit there have been amazing positive outcomes and valuable learnings about ourselves and each other.

The advice out there to slow down and take care is spot on. But has been hard to follow.

I know. I’ve tried. So has everyone on the LiisBeth team. Talk is shifting towards a measured re-opening–which is, along with the arrival of spring in this part of the world, uplifting.

We hope you found some joy, hope, and direction reading this edition. It’s a relief to hear more about a measured re-opening of the economy. Getting tired of my COVID-19 hair.

We will be back with another newsletter mid-June.

With gratitude and heartfelt thanks for your continued readership, engagement, and support.

Breathe deeply. Peace out.

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