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Debunking the Myths About Women and Age, with Idelisse Malavé and Joanne Sandler of Two Old Bitches Podcast

Debunking the Myths About Women and Age, with Idelisse Malavé and Joanne Sandler of Two Old Bitches Podcast


Episode 82: Debunking the Myths About Women and Age, with Idelisse Malavé and Joanne Sandler of Two Old Bitches Podcast

Idelisse Malavé and Joanne Sandler want you to know that their age and gender do not define them. With their humorous podcast Two Old Bitches, they set out to celebrate amazing women over 50 and dispel the myths about aging. In this episode, Idelisse and Joanne discuss the importance of intersectional feminism, why it’s great to enjoy and embrace being a woman at every age, and the ways women can stand up for themselves in the face of adversity.


Episode Transcript

00:00 Speaker 1: Welcome to the Ellevate Podcast, conversations with women changing the face of business. And now, your hosts, Kristy Wallace and Maricella Herrera.

00:12 KW: Hello and welcome to the Ellevate Podcast. Conversations with women changing the face of business. And here is your host, Maricella Herrera, who is one of those women changing the face of business. [laughter] Hello Maricella. [laughter]

00:28 MH: Wow, you're so profesh today.

[laughter]

00:33 KW: I try, I try. I've my big girl pants on today.

00:38 MH: It's either that or the Theraflu you're taking. I'm gonna check what's in that mug.

00:43 KW: Unfortunately, it's not whiskey, but...

00:45 MH: Gosh, it is whiskey, brother.

00:47 KW: Oh. Oh, but to our podcast listeners, we will soon have a guest who started her own brand and line of whiskey, Catskill Provisions. And when she comes on, I promise you that I will drink whiskey during the interview.

01:02 MH: I will not be in the interview, but I will be drinking the whiskey outside of the interview room.

01:07 KW: Okay. We'll make a pact. I am feeling awesome right now. And not because of the Theraflu, but because of the interview with the hosts of the podcast, Two Old Bitches. And wow.

01:22 MH: Wow. Yes, that is right. I wanna be their friend.

01:26 KW: I think we are.

01:27 MH: Are we?

01:28 KW: I felt like that whole session kind of got us into friend territory.

01:31 MH: Yeah.

01:33 KW: Something that we aim to do on the podcast and please, hold us accountable for this, is to share different stories. We want to share inspiration. We also wanna ensure that we get as many different voices on this podcast that are talking about all the issues, and all the opportunities that face women in business today. And this conversation with Ide and Joanne, really hit home for me, because we touched on everything from ageism to feminism. Feminism from back in the '70s to today. We talked about impact in our world.

02:12 MH: Intersectionality.

02:13 KW: Yep.

02:14 MH: It was great. They have quite the stories, they are so smart.

02:20 KW: Yea.

02:21 MH: Just really great. I could say this is one of my favorites.

02:25 KW: I would agree. So it was great, and it all came about due to the power of networking. Because we share our wonderful producer Katherine, and that's how this world goes around, folks. It's the power of networks, so if you are not a member of the Ellevate Network, we do hope that you will join ellevatenetwork.com. It's a great community of women who are attending in-person events, connecting online through our Squads program, learning and getting inspired through everything from the podcast, to our articles, to our weekly webinars, and more. So, check out ellevatenetwork.com, and we'd love to meet you. Before we get to the interview, I know Maricella, you have some interesting data for us as you always do, the keeper of the data.

03:11 MH: I am the keeper of the data, wow. So we do have a poll. We asked our audience, have you ever been discriminated at work because of your age? 73% said yes.

03:26 KW: Wow.

03:27 MH: And of course, we didn't specify obviously, older or younger, but it's a lot. 73% is a lot. 18% said, "I don't think so." So they weren't even sure. And only 8% said no.

03:41 KW: So our listeners are likely discriminated against because of their gender and also discriminated because of their age.

03:48 MH: That's a sobering fact.

03:50 KW: Yes. Yeah, which is why we are on a mission to change the way that women in business get ahead, have an impact, and close those pesky gender gaps that continue to plague us.

04:05 MH: Yep. All the gaps.

04:07 KW: Yeah. We're gonna make it happen.

04:09 MH: We will. We will.

04:10 KW: Yes. And you do not sound confident. Say, yes we will.

04:14 MH: Yes, we will.

04:15 KW: All right. [laughter]

04:17 MH: No, we will, we will because we're working with the power of an awesome community. We're working with numbers, we will get to where we wanna go because we're working together and that way, we're doing it faster and smarter.

04:29 KW: All right. Let's get to our podcast interview. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did having the conversation, and we wanna hear from you. So share your thoughts with us on Twitter at Ellevate and TWK or email us at podcast@ellevatenetwork.com.

[music]

04:55 KW: Maricella and I are here together because it is duelling podcast today. [laughter]

05:01 S?: Okay.

05:01 KW: We have Idelisse and Joanne joining us and we are so happy to have you here. Thank you so much.

05:06 Speaker 4: Thank you.

05:07 Speaker 5: Thank you.

05:07 IM: It's a real pleasure.

05:09 KW: So we would love to hear... Maricella and I want to hear about your podcast.

05:13 JS: Well, Idelisse and I have to do rock paper scissors to see who goes first.

[laughter]

05:19 IM: You go first today.

[laughter]

05:22 JS: We started the podcast... We're both older. I just turned 70, and Joanne is in her lateish 60s.

05:34 IM: 66.

05:35 JS: And a few years before, I had started an art project, called 'Who Is That Old Bitch?' Which was very much in response initially, to my vain instincts, as I would look in the mirror and go, "Oh my god, whose neck is that?" Right? And, "Am I still me as my face and body start changing?" So I started... I asked, I did an email to 50 women, I started taking photographs of aging faces, I started drawing my own aging face, and got past the vanity, and really into the potential, right, of becoming as you get older. And Joanne who is a dear friend and I would talk about this, and she's quite brilliant, and had an idea...

06:32 MH: On a scale of 1 to 10 how brilliant would you think?

06:34 JS: She's like, "Oh, we should do a book, we should do book for other old bitches like us. Won't it be great?" Little book kind of nicely packaged. And we actually met with an agent and the two of us were sitting there. And I'm gonna pass the baton to Joanne.

06:53 IM: And so the agent was telling us all of the things we would have to do, if we wanted to write a book. And Edana and I've both written books previously, and we looked at each other and said, "That is so boring, there is no way in the world we're gonna do that".

07:06 JS: Not fun.

07:07 KW: Not.

07:07 IM: And then we started talking about, "So what do we like to do?" Well we like to ask questions, we like to interview people, we like to find out about people. And then we said, "Let's do a podcast." But we actually had no idea what a podcast was. It was just a word we were using. And then we started doing a little bit of research. And that's where the goddesses intervened, because no sooner had we said, "Let's do a podcast", then the next day I was on this list at the Center for Social Innovation, where I have a co-working space. And this random woman sends out this email saying, "If anybody is doing a podcast and wants a really great producer, you should contact my friend Catherine Heller."

07:51 KW: Oh.

07:52 IM: So I saw that as a message from the universe saying, "You must do a podcast."

07:55 MH: You must do a podcast.

07:56 IM: And we contacted Catherine and the rest is bitchy history.

08:00 JS: And we started working on it, and it's evolving. Here where we started, is I think I would say Joanne, a little different than where we are now. We set an arbitrary age limit. People had to be 50 or older, we're really rethinking that now. And it's basically interviewing, talking to all sorts of different women, but asking some similar questions about how they reinvent themselves, at this point in their lives or in the past.

08:37 KW: We interviewed our first Dentist yesterday.

08:39 S?: Wow.

[laughter]

08:41 MH: My dad's a Dentist. Yeah.

08:44 JS: Well...

08:44 KW: Okay, I'm not saying anything then...

08:45 JS: Oh. Well, this is a Dentist, unlike any Dentist...

08:48 KW: Surely.

08:48 JS: I have ever gone and seeing...

08:50 KW: Really.

08:51 JS: Wonderful woman...

08:52 KW: How do you reinvent yourself as a Dentist?

08:54 IM: That's a really good question.

08:57 JS: You... Well... If you practice...

09:00 IM: You don't.

09:00 JS: There's a kind of Dentistry that is very expensive, and you start doing, "Oh how the configuration of your jaw, etcetera, affects your ability to breathe, and the amount of oxygen you get in your body has all of these... Well, all of a sudden you're becoming a breathing expert.

09:18 KW: Well, there you go.

09:19 S1: As well. So it all... It's... I find it fascinating. The way she just expanded out with curiosity and this confidence of, "I can figure that out."

09:33 KW: Yeah. So why are you rethinking the age limit?

09:36 JS: Well, a few things. Chime in whenever you'd like Joanne, I wanna... But one is... [laughter] But I'm gonna keep going until you tell me to stop. One thing is, we found that our largest demographic is actually women in their 30s and 40s. And when we talk to them, they're interested... It's the sense of them wanting to hear stories about the way ahead, right? Instead of seeing 50 or 60, or whatever as the end. Is there some way to see that differently, also is there some way to benefit now from the experiences of women who've gone before you? So that was one part.

10:22 IM: I think we're rethinking a lot of things, not just that. But it might not be about age. Right? It might be about what the person that we're talking to has to talk about. And we're the two old bitches. We don't need to just interview old bitches, right? We could interview anybody. The other thing I think that actually started to catalyze that question, is that in... We interviewed a woman named Ashton Applewhite.

10:49 MH: I was listening to that this morning.

10:49 IM: You saw it. Right? Right? Right? The Chair That Rocks. Who was asking a lot of questions about agefullness. She doesn't call it aging. And she makes the point that, you're always older or younger than somebody.

11:00 MH: Mm-hmm.

11:01 IM: So that kind of threw it back at us to say, "Well why are we making this about an arbitrary cut-off point?".

11:09 JS: And I think the objective of turning aging upside down, that it's not near death or slow death or... You know, the way some people see it. But it's part of a development process. And you're still becoming. You're still... All sorts of things are still possible, and there are actually some strengths you bring to that with more experience.

11:40 KW: Yeah, absolutely, and we hear that from our community all the time. Right? I think it's so interesting when you think about your life, that you are in school until you're near 20s, and then you work for the next 40 to 60 years, and during that time a lot... Many other things happen. Maybe you get married, maybe you have kids, maybe you run a marathon, maybe... But all of this is happening. And then there's this... Seems like there's this 60s, 70s inflection point, and it's like the great abyss. And everyone's like, "Well, no. I have so much left, and I'm excited for that next part, but let's figure out what that is, and let's start having that conversation about what it can be, and get inspiration from other women who have gone before me who have done that". And culturally, it's so strange that we tend to check everyone off at a certain age and say, "Okay, off to the... "

12:41 IM: And particularly, I think in certain sectors. I think, for the work that Idelisse and I have done for most of our lives, it's not as true, but I understand this in the corporate sector. It's much more intense.

12:54 MH: We were reading an article, commenting on this for tech specifically... Because most of the people in tech, and you were at the Grace Hopper Conference, are very young, up to 30s. And so, there was someone saying, "You're not gonna be always very young". You're gonna be women in tech who are getting older, and the ageism hasn't changed. So how does that transfer from other industries, to specific industries like that? So it's good to have those examples.

13:22 JS: And the combination, I think of aging and being a woman.

13:27 KW: Yeah, that's true.

13:27 JS: Aging and being a man is one experience. Aging and being a woman is a very different experience.

13:34 IM: We don't have that podcast yet, about aging men, but thank God.

[laughter]

13:39 JS: Somebody else can do that one. I'm not looking for those stories right now.

13:45 MH: I would like to hear a little bit of your background and your stories 'cause I know you've had quite some interesting career journeys.

13:51 IM: So my story is that I had that moment, that epiphany when I was about 25 or 26 years old. I was traveling, and getting harassed on the street, and everywhere I traveling by myself, I was a hippie. And so I had that moment of realizing that no matter where I went, women everywhere were experiencing that level of harassment in their private lives, in their public lives, and I started getting interested in how women were organizing around that which... This was the mid-1970s, it wasn't so visible that women were organizing around that at that point. And so, it became very clear to me that my life's work was gonna be around women's rights. And so everything I did from then on was really to organize my life. I didn't really think about it as work. In fact, at that moment I remember having this very naive thought, "Why do you have to have a work life, and then other life? Why can't you just have one life that's one thing?" And so. Yeah, for the past 40 plus years, I have been really privileged to do work in the women's rights field. First with an organization called the International Women's Tribune Centre, that was across the street from the United Nations, and was about translating the norms and standards that the UN was creating on women's rights, into kind of locally understood language, so women's rights organizations could actually manifest them where they lived. And then working in the United Nations for many, many years or 13.

15:38 MH: That's many.

15:38 IM: Yeah.

[chuckle]

15:39 IM: As the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Women's Fund, which was called UNIFEM. And then now as a consultant, working all around the world with lots of amazing organizations.

15:51 JS: For me, I think from an early age, I knew that the things that I cared about most, were... And I didn't quite understand how they went together, but it was about beauty and justice. So, I'm Latina. I grew up in a middle class Jewish neighborhood. My father was a building superintendent. So I knew about class difference. I knew about ethnic differences. I knew who was looked down on, that would be me, versus who was... The way it was supposed to be. And so justice and crossing those barriers, overcoming barriers, was a key part of, I think, my life's purpose. And then the other side was beauty. I love making art. I love looking at art. So I ended up eventually, when I was in my 20s and went to law school. 'Cause that seemed the most obvious way. I too had been in women's movement... God, from the time I was 21, in all sorts of different groups, but I decided I thought like a lawyer, and I might as well learn to be one. So I was a lawyer for a long time. But, how there are people in relationships that are sometimes referred to as, "serial monogamous"? Right? I think I'm the serial something. Right? [chuckle] 'Cause I loved doing law, when I was doing law, but after about five or seven years of anything, I start getting bored and itchy.

17:38 KW: Sure.

17:39 JS: So I did two different... I did civil rights public interest law. Then when I had kids, I couldn't really litigate. And I started doing a part-time practice with a friend, where we only represented women and people of color. And we only did family law and small businesses. And then I got tired of that, and I started working at the Ms. Foundation for Women. And I really like giving money away. I...

18:12 KW: You do?

[chuckle]

18:12 JS: Well, yeah, right. Who doesn't like that? But I liked that it was all cause-related and then after about almost seven years the itch came back, and I went off to California to run the Tides Foundation. And while I worked at both places, I did a lot of work. It ended up working with our grantees and started developing an interest in some knowledge about organizational development, leadership, how do you support it? And finally, I've been consulting about just those things for the last 10 years, and I wrote two books along the way. One called, "Mother Daughter Revolution," and the other just a couple of years ago with my daughter, "Latino Steps." And writing a book with your adult daughter is a fascinating experience.

[laughter]

19:07 KW: Yeah. [chuckle] I look forward to reading those. I'm sure that was a very fascinating experience. How did the two of you meet?

19:16 IM: I took a break to do consulting, because I was doing a lot of work internationally, and I also wanted to do work domestically, so I was doing consulting with the Ms. Foundation. And in the economic development program, Ide was the vice president at the time. It was in the early '90s, and then there was this thing called the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing.

19:39 MH: Oh my goodness.

19:41 IM: Which more than 30,000 people, mostly women from around the world came to. And Ms. Got a grant to organize a delegation of activists from the United States...

19:54 JS: And donors.

19:54 IM: To go, and donors. About...

19:55 JS: Over a hundred of them.

19:55 IM: It was 103, I think. And so we worked on that, and we went. And I would say that was a huge bonding experience, wouldn't you?

20:05 JS: If you can't bond, trying to shepherd over 100 women in Beijing, where most of us, the vast majority had never been at a conference of 30,000 people, you're never gonna bond. And Joanne is just splendid to work with, and I think we compliment each other. Joanne is ever excited and, "Isn't this fun?" Problems arise.

20:35 IM: Yeah. There was a part of it that wasn't so much fun.

[laughter]

20:38 JS: Right. But I'm... I don't know what I am. [laughter]

20:45 KW: Less patient, less patient.

20:47 JS: I'm a little less patient. That's polite. I'm impatient, and it was sort of like, "Okay, we're gonna make this happen. I'm sorry that your toilet wasn't working last night, but really, you should not be knocking on my door, you should be now going to the front desk." But, I'm dealing with lots of group dynamics, but I actually, impatient as I am, love those. I love figuring things out. I love figuring out how to make something work, and I think we're both about that. And you just... Persevering. I was... Given my family situation, you couldn't punk out. No one was gonna pick you up out there, so you kept at it, you never gave up, and I treasure that part, actually, of my growing up.

21:45 IM: And I don't know if your listeners know this or care, [chuckle] but there were actually four World Conferences on Women. The first was in 1975 in Mexico City, and each one got bigger and bigger, so that the time we went to Beijing in 1995, there were 30,000 people from all around the world. So we were in Beijing at a time when there were just women from every part of the globe talking about the amazing things that they were doing, whether it was in Botswana, or Mongolia or whatever. So it was really, extraordinarily...

22:21 JS: Oh, I think, unlike Joanne, I hadn't worked very much globally. I was an activist, but I was focused in the United States. And there's a certain egocentricity right around being American. The ruling power in the world, you really don't have to know. And even those of us who are opposed to that internalize some of that. And I think when from me, it was a big turning point to see that particularly women in the global south, what used to be called the developing world, whatever different names it had, they were in some ways, so far ahead of us.

23:09 KW: What do you think of the state of feminism today?

23:12 IM: The state of feminism today. Well, it's...

23:15 JS: There's repeating. [chuckle]

23:19 IM: It's certainly the most interesting moment of my life, because... And again, as Ide said, for the past 40 years, I've worked transnationally, locally and globally. So I think of that question as a global question, not just a US question. And even 10 years ago, there were huge debates in the spaces that I occupied around... Let's not say feminist. Even if I am feminist, no it's too...

23:46 KW: There still are.

23:47 IM: There still are, but there are fewer. But now, in places where that used to be the dominant discussion, people have moved on.

23:57 MH: That's true.

23:57 IM: People have come out as feminists, from President Obama to the Secretary General of the United Nations. That was unimaginable 10 years ago. The word itself was too much of a lightning rod. So, something shifted in good ways and also in more challenging ways. The movement part of feminism needs a lot of attention, right? Because I think the word has travelled in interesting ways, has expanded in some ways. I think it's a bigger tent than it used to be, but the actual movement, there's a feeling, I think, amongst some feminist groups around the world that even the word has been co-opted and the movement has been co-opted. But I think you have to look at things like what's happening with Harvey Weinstein and with women marines being able to bring the kinds of lawsuits that they are as at some level a vindication, or a validation of decades of organizing that is now resulting in something and at the same time, I think what we're also seeing around the world and what we're seeing in this country in terms of political priorities is a huge backlash, a huge patriarchal backlash, and it is a vicious backlash, so it's a mixed bag.

25:20 JS: I think the difference I also see when I was in the early '70s, a feminist, right? I eventually became a member of the New York Women's Political Caucus and the National this and the... I went to work at the Ms. Foundation, but before any of those organizations, I felt I was part of a social movement. Even though I didn't have a relationship with an organization, I felt like I was part of a movement. I think over the decades that the social movement widespread, I am part of something that's happening, even if I'm not attached to a group or working with a group kind of withered a bit. And when I think... Joanne and I went together to the march in Washington, right? Right after the inauguration, and there it was, you could see it blooming again. I'm part of this movement, even though I'm just here... We talk to all sorts of women there, and they don't belong to an organization, but this is about me. And yes, the backlash, I think they go together, right? When you start seeing and feeling that backlash, you kinda go, "Oh, I'm on the other side of something here."

26:48 IM: And there was a sign at that march and many others, subsequently, that said, "For people of privilege, right? Equality is a dis-privilege because something's being taken away from them," they think. And so I think that's part of a dynamic that's happening now, but... And what about you all? How do you relate to the idea of a feminist movement?

27:14 KW: So it's interesting, 'cause you're talking about the march and Maricella and I were at the march together with Catherine.

27:19 MH: The both of us. [laughter]

27:19 JS: Oh you were. Wonderful.

27:22 IM: In DC?

27:22 MH: She's my roommate.

27:23 KW: Yeah, it's in DC. And in that moment, being in DC and marching alongside women, men, children, fellow human beings, you felt like we're in it together. And on...

27:38 JS: Yeah. Exactly.

27:38 KW: The screen, you see millions of human beings elsewhere and you're like, "Yes, yes. We believe that we are all equal." That was an experience that I'll... That moment I'll carry with me. It was all the moments that happened afterwards that just like, "Ugh," to the gut. Right? You have a new president that's elected by the people, that's not responding to the millions of people that are marching, you then see health care bills being signed very soon after where the people that are being impacted aren't represented in the room.

28:18 S?: All those men.

[background conversation]

28:20 KW: Yeah, immigration and it's... Without getting too political, it's just you feel that... We're trying to take what has been learned over years and years and years, about the ways to really raise awareness about these issues, to make movement on these issues. It's the data, it's the research, it's using your voice, its collective power and that doesn't seem to be moving the needle at all today. And so for me, it's okay. We have to completely rethink what is going to drive this change.

28:54 IM: That's right. That's right.

28:55 JS: I think you're right and I think one of the benefits of having been doing this for so many decades is it always takes longer than you think. And it's a willingness to go, "I'm in this for the long haul." I accept that at my age, I'm not likely to see the changes and differences that my thirty-something daughter will. That's okay, right? I feel both frustrated with the pace as well as feeling part of a chain, that I'm a link in the chain, this process now is a link. I feel also enormous impatience. [chuckle] Couldn't we move a little faster now, right? And what's it gonna take? Right? How offensive, how bad, is it going to have to get? And I think that the... It's gotten so bad that there is much more consciousness and awareness of the oppressive aspects of patriarchy, what is toxic masculinity? What's toxic capitalism?

30:20 IM: The work on gender lens investing, and there's a woman who works with gender lens investing, I can't remember her name. But the thing is that, she talks about, how do we understand capitalism in all of its manifestations, and how do we understand it in ways where it can be supportive, and generative, and, also, extractive and damaging? And so I think the awareness about all of those dynamics is increasing. When you were talking about, which is true, what has happened to the analytical basis of our movements? Do we understand? Because we've been so privileged in the United States, it's hegemonic power, that we don't have to think about those things, but once we have to start thinking about that in this country, I think there could be dramatic shifts.

31:14 JS: But, also, don't you think if I string these events together, there's this massive women's march in the United States, echoing all over the world. And I think my vision of it is of women pounding at this wall, making cracks in this big wall, they're not gonna knock it down right away. And every time... What we're seeing now around Harvey Weinstein, it's like those cracks that's where "Me Too", and the response to what this man has been doing for decades can just seep right through and widen that crack a little more.

32:02 MH: It's that's what Leonard Cohen says, "The cracks in the wall, that's where the light gets in."

32:07 KW: And we're talking about gender equality, there's so many causes and so many areas of inequality to get behind, that it's almost your efforts become so fragmented. And so then in times like now with Harvey Weinstein, which where it's front and center sexual harassment, and I feel like there's a huge voice behind that one issue in... I don't want more instances where we have to all rally around an instant that is so disturbing, but it really draws attention to a specific part of the world in which women are living today.

32:44 JS: I think it does. I think the thing I would add to your list of all the issues, fighting sexism and gender inequity, just general racial, ethnic, economic equality. Right? And in part, what I'm seeing, that I really appreciate, the overlaps between some of these kind of isms as the right likes to call them, about gender, race, are overlapping. You look at something like Black Lives Matter. The role of women, of women of color in Black Lives Matter, of lesbian, gay, transgender. They are in leadership roles, and, also, you can't ever, in our increasingly... You all know this better I think that even we do, our increasingly complex world. You can't isolate a thread. You have to see how that thread weaves in with others, and that's the part that makes it harder. But I think can also create enormous opportunity for an echoing and more aligned movement across different areas of life and inequality in this country and the world.

34:18 IM: Right, and because it's about abuse of power, when... You know that film The 13TH? That was Ava DuVernay, right?

34:25 MH: Yeah.

34:25 IM: You know we're really... I thought that was so brilliant at questioning the structures of power, the structures of race and patriarchy, and how they come together. And until you start asking those questions about what are the deep structures that we all actually have come to believe stopped questioning and actually embody, that we become the tools of the patriarch, who you became... That we've become the tools of that power structure. And it's very complicated, but actually trying to work exactly, as you say, trying to work like issue by issue by issue, just keeps siloing us. But when you start to question the overall structure, then the walls start coming down, then the walls start to crumble.

35:12 JS: And the Weinstein, whatever it is, the Weinstein thingy.

35:17 IM: Debacle.

35:18 MH: Thingy is right.

35:20 JS: Maybe not the best word, okay.

35:23 MH: The thingy is the problem.

35:23 KW: It was his thingy, right?

[laughter]

35:24 JS: It definitely was his thingy, and worse. But, I also think my daughter works in Los Angeles, and she works in the industry. And their growing numbers of women of color, women are fighting for... Women across the board are fighting, but for more power going to power, more opportunity. And they are also recognizing across the board that if you're an African-American woman or a Latina woman sitting at that table, it's even harder. It's even harder. And the opportunity to have people who are willing, other women willing to reach across the table and say, "I'm with you too. Here I am, I'm there". I find that very powerful.

36:22 MH: It's funny to me 'cause for me, listening to what's happening here, with feminism, I was raised in El Salvador, I lived my whole life there. And it's like, "You guys should know better." [chuckle] Like, we are way behind but you guys should know better. And the same thing with race for me, I was never a Latina until I came to New York. But...

36:43 JS: Where were you before?

36:45 MH: Mexico.

36:47 JS: You were always part of the majority.

36:49 IM: I was always part of the majority, right. Came to New York, and I was like, "Oh, oh, that's what that meant." And it's eye-opening to see it from the outside.

37:00 JS: And so many of these things are breaking open now.

37:02 MH: Yeah.

37:02 IM: So the question really is, what's the next chapter gonna look like in different places? Who's gonna step up? Because I always think about this too that, you know, somebody has to step aside. It's about reaching across the table; it's also about making space. It's about saying, "I have to give up a little bit at some point, to just create more."

37:28 KW: Well, I think many people experienced it in the movement for black lives.

37:32 MH: Yeah.

37:34 IM: Good, fine human beings who happened to be white, who like "I think that's wrong too. How can I be supportive?" And trying to figure out a role that both does reach that hand across the table, while making space for leadership. From someplace else. Which is hard to do. I know, I'm not great at it myself, but working on it.

38:06 JS: And it's interesting from an age perspective, just going back to what we were talking about earlier, like in feminist movements, I remember, and this came up at Ms. Foundation, when I reached, say, my 40s, right? And younger feminists would say, "When are you older feminists gonna step aside, so that younger feminists can take leadership?" A completely fair question. And then thinking about the way that in feminist movements, that gets discussed a lot. Generationally, how's the shift happening? Whereas in society in general, the notion of stepping aside to make space for others is kind of like a giving up. Real men don't step aside, they fight for their space, kind of thing. So it's just so interesting how our values are always in a dynamic kind of shift about... I don't know if this comes up in your line also. When I think about older women from the private sector, by older I mean over 60, who have been really successful, who have moved on, and how they talk about not having any space, whereas the older men who have moved on have space. Right? And they continue. Does that come up?

39:33 KW: Part of what we see is this situation where you have older women... So the world of work, and just the world in general has evolved so rapidly due to technology, and access to information. And we've seen many women who are older feel like, there's this younger generation that's snipping at their heels, that knows more about technology, knows more about certain aspects of business. And so they feel like they're being pushed off a cliff and don't know where they're going. And, I haven't heard that, not that I'm as in-tune to men in the workplace, but I feel like there's that mentality of like, "Nope, I am standing my ground and I am unbudgeable, and I am like, stone".

40:21 JS: Until you knock me over.

40:23 KW: Yeah.

40:23 JS: Right?

40:24 KW: Exactly!

40:26 S1: Until I on my own accord, feel like I want to leave, it is my decision.

40:26 JS: Or I get bored.

40:28 IM: Yeah, right.

40:28 KW: Whereas many women in the workplace feel like it's not their decision. And we've heard from many women who were like, "You know it's really hard to find a new job after a certain age", or considered like "too much money" or "too experienced", or too... There's always you're like, you're over-qualified.

40:44 JS: Too much.

40:44 IM: Like getting appointed to boards, or getting invited to be on panels. I'm calling on the Ellevate Podcast, for white men to stand up and step aside. [laughter] I would like to see...

40:58 JS: Just a little. One step!

41:00 KW: I'd like to see a white CEO...

41:03 KW: Yeah.

41:03 IM: To stand up and say, "Okay, I've had the space. I'm stepping aside for a woman of color".

41:07 KW: Yeah. When you step aside, just pick someone who doesn't look like you.

41:10 IM: Yes.

41:10 JS: No, exactly.

41:12 KW: That's part of redefining that age spectrum that we talked about before. Right? Because it doesn't have to be... Well, as you get older, your opportunities get less, your future gets hazier. I mean it should be... You have richer experiences that you're sharing with others, that they are then sharing experiences with you, that we're learning from each other, that it's that reverse mentoring, and if you remove age as that identifier, that characteristic, and like not let it limit you, then suddenly we are all just women. And maybe we're Latino women, and maybe we're women of color, maybe we're transgender, or maybe we're scientists, or politicians or... But like, it starts to, I think, not be... "Well, you're old and I'm young, and so, we're very different."

42:02 JS: The great thing about doing "Two Old Bitches" has been that everybody we've talked to, and we have made an effort to talk to wide ranges of people, not the same prototype, nobody has said, "Oh God, it's really horrible to be 102", 'cause one of the people we interviewed is 102, and it is that way of approaching life, as life is gonna throw up opportunities, are you awake, are you willing to take the risk, are you willing to jump in? Not one woman we've talked to has said, "Yeah, you know, when I was 21, I had a plan and I followed my plan."

42:52 MH: What's a plan?

42:53 JS: Nobody did that. Nobody did that. We're like sold this malarkey about planning and thinking ahead...

43:00 IM: Well, I think the other thing is that... When I was at Ms. We did the first "Take your daughter to work" campaign, and one of the things that we... I learned in my BAP process, my daughter I think was seven then or something, some age, like seven or nine. But the similarities between girls before they become fertile, and women after they stop being fertile, putting them together was like magic, right? 'Cause they were outside of the defining characteristic of a woman. Sex babies. Right? Too little to have them, too old to have them.

43:48 JS: But you can still have sex.

43:50 IM: Yes. This is true.

[laughter]

43:54 JS: Just reminding you. [laughter]

43:54 IM: Non procreation sex, which may be the best of all. But I think that's also true, in terms of younger people, in their '20's and early '30s, and some of the obstacles they have faced, they're not that dissimilar, you're somehow being stereotyped or limited by someone's pre-judgment of what a twenty-something can do.

44:24 KW: Well, thank you, thank you so much for being on the podcast today...

44:27 IM: Thank you.

44:27 JS: Thank you. What a delight.

44:28 S1: This was so much fun. This was really great.

[music]

44:36 KW: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out. Subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review. Also, don't forget to follow on Twitter @ellevatentwk, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, www.ellevatenetwork.com, that's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E network.com. And special thanks to our producer, Katharine Heller, she rocks. And to our voiceover artist, Rachel Griesinger. Thanks so much, and join us next week.


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