Monday, 17 October 2016

Feminist Chronicles - Appreciate your Boss Day

One of the most biggest lessons I have learnt this year has been to be painstakingly deliberate and strategic in whatever I set out to do and that it has to count for something bigger than just me. I would like to share some of my reflections of tenets I embraced that are helping me with my ambitious goals:

1. Think - Support & Inspiration: One of the most understated pillars we need as activists and as women is support. Support is the unseen companion of late night deadlines, tense and difficult moments and when our bodies and minds are at the brink of letting out.  It gives an extraordinary burst of strength to keep our eye on the ball against our body and mind sensations which are many times stretched to the limits.

What cant we achieve if we know that we have someone who has our back?

Act – Pass it on

Over the months, two formidable feminists told me that after a brief discussion with them on how to strengthen the regional women rights movement they felt reenergised and inspired. I was touched, one of them has been in the movement for over 30 years and to hear that from her made me realise how important it is for us as a movement to pass along enabling support and inspiration in all our interactions with fellow women. It is in some of the conversations that we share; formal or informal that we have an opportunity to meaningfully touch people’s lives.

No matter how big or small passing this as you receive it goes such a long way in a creating a chain reaction that is positive and affirming of ourselves as women.

2. Thinking - Igniting Inner Power: Our inner power when ignited is so transformational it cannot be contained. It glows and radiates outward. It is easy to pick out someone who has found their voice and their power and this coupled with power of solidarity is a force that cannot be stopped. Thanks to the empowering environment, we are slowly keeping the embers of a women’s movement alive and burning for change.

Acting – Reconfiguring Power and Power Relations: Subsequent to some of the capacity building initiatives we have undertaken has resulted in some participants coming up to the resource persons to let them know how the training changed their thinking as individuals, but also talking about the value it lends in enriching their activism work and their organizing to challenge oppressive systems.

In the very same principle of having a generous spirit, we ask them to pass along to those who were not in the room. We need to reconfigure power and in these small steps aggregate in building a revolution.

3. Thinking - Compassion: In a tough world with difficult work cut out for us every day, sometimes forget the more supple sides of our humanity. Compassion allows us to really look, see, connect, understand and appreciate each other better.

Acting – Compassion: When we verbalize compassion we are more sensitive, caring and kind. As feminists it also means ensuring we do not victimize or minimize our own and other people’s circumstances and realities. This has really strengthened my analysis and the approach I take when I interact with partners and collaborators in the movement. It is fed off the fact that my own supervisor looks at me as a whole person and I want to be able to share that in my own work and connections.

4. Thinking - Accountability: Part of support, empowerment and compassion is keeping ourselves as individuals and as a collective accountable. Every so often we need a nudge to remind us our responsibility to be part of social transformation. No movement will grow without work, no work can be transformational without it being something we are accountable for. 

Act – Being Answerable
At the tail end of accountability is taking ownership for what we do. It means developing a good worth ethic devoid of excuses and coping out. With a tight balance of more things to do with very little time; practicing and verbalizing accountability has helped me prioritize, sometimes make very difficult decisions, and to ensure that what is put forward is the best possible body of work with or without the nudges.

All these elements weave delicately into a patterned design way of working that is not only meaningful but also very gratifying for me.

I would therefore like to honor my boss today as her deliberate efforts in creating an enabling environment for me has let this happen.

There is a saying that we stand tall because we stand on the shoulder of giants. As I reflect on my year and my personal and professional growth, one such giant is most definitely my boss.

Happy Appreciate your Boss Day.