Taking Back What it Means to be a Feminist

Online • March 14, 2017

Adventure 842584 640

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

Online hosted by ReadyTalk

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

Join us for this special Jam Session with Jilly Badanes for a discussion on why our understanding of fighting for women’s rights has become what it is today and what we can do to #TakeBackFeminism.


00:03 Jilly Badanes: Great. Thank you so much. Yeah, I'm thrilled to be here talking about feminism, I'm really excited that Ellevate has chosen to highlight the topic, and in this way, talking about taking about feminism, because it's something that's gotten so confused, I think, in the definition, in the images that we associate with feminism, and in so much of the messaging. And it's really gotten us distracted from the core of what feminism is, which is what I'm gonna to talk about today. So, just another quick introduction, As Jenny mentioned, I'm Jilly Badanes. I'm the Founder of Milk, which is a website and weekly newsletter where we feature women's stories; women sharing essays, lessons about things that they've experienced in their life, lessons they've learned, and their vision for how to make the world more... A little closer to the world they envision, so how to move things forward for themselves, and for other women.

01:10 JB: And I really... We started Milk a couple of years ago, because I really feel that women's voices... Women really have the answers, we all have the answers, and the best thing we can do is to listen to ourselves, and listen to each other more often, and I think that that is, particularly, it's really relevant when we talk about feminism. And so, I am not here to tell you about how to be a good feminist, or 10 steps to take feminist actions today. That's really the point. There is so much history of people telling women what to do and how to behave, and that's really what we have to resist. And so that's kind of the point of what I wanna talk about today, how to find and define feminism for yourself.

02:07 JB: So, I wanted to kick things off by talking about a feminist that's been in the news recently, and I'm sure you're all familiar with this woman, Emma Watson. She kind of, of course, became famous through the Harry Potter series, but in the last couple of years has made a name for herself as a feminist, when she kinda came out as a feminist in 2014, giving the speech to the UN. And she talks about launching her "HeForShe" campaign, and about the idea of bringing men into the conversation of feminism. And then she has started several different feminist initiatives, including a feminist book club, and she's had speaking appearances with Gloria Steinem, and kind of followed the playbook of traditionally things that you're supposed to do to be a feminist.

03:03 JB: And then last week, the conversation around Emma Watson and feminism changed a little bit, when Vanity Fair came out with this feature, talking about her and her new movie, and sharing this image of her where she's not wearing... Where she's revealing some of her body. And a lot of people reacted, including many women. This is an example of a tweet that was shared about Emma Watson, basically saying that because she posed in this way, it kind of disqualified her from being a feminist, and that was a lot of the messaging that was going around. And to me, this really was... It's just a great example of how we talk about feminism today, is that it's so often, either you do it this way or you do it that way, and... But it's kind of a rule book that if you don't follow it correctly, you're kind of thrown out of the club. Essentially, that's what I read into this Tweet and some of the criticism around Emma Watson.

04:19 JB: And to me, it really... That is such a reflection of a lot of our history of women, and talking about women, and talking to women, which is that throughout history, men and women have told women how to behave, whether that's about being a good wife or a good mother, a good woman, as we've kinda seen throughout history. And I think a lot of the same tone is reflected in this conversation about feminism. So, in the same way we tell women, "This is kind of what you need to do to be a woman," there is kinda the same tone that women need to be told how to be a good feminist. And I think this is such a mistake, and it's something that... It's just an interesting note to see how that sort of language can impact even the discussion around a feminist movement. So, kicking it off with that, I wanted to go back to really linking it to this history I see of telling women what to do, which has been kind of consistent throughout history. So I just pulled a few quotes from history, some far-away history, some not so far away, talking about how we see women, and how people have seen women.

05:55 JB: So, starting with this one from John Wesley, he said, "Do not any longer contend for mastery, for power, money, or praise. Be content to be a private, insignificant person, known and loved by God and me. Of what importance is your character to mankind, if you was buried just now? Or if you had never lived, what loss would it be to the cause of God." So this is kind of this traditional sexist talk that you think of when you think about discrimination of women. This is an old religious leader in the 1700s, he's actually writing to his wife. Clearly, this is sexist talk, and kind of a clear example of kind of prejudice against women [chuckle] obviously.

06:45 JB: Going a little further in history, we think about kind of the '40s and the '50s, this language around being a good wife, and kind of the idea that that was all... Women's core mission in life was to be a wife and a mother. So, Edward Podolsky, this is in a book he wrote about being a good wife, he said, "Don't bother your husband with petty troubles and complaints when he comes home from work. Be a good listener. Let him tell you his troubles; yours will seem trivial in comparison. Remember, your most important job is to build up and maintain his ego, which gets bruised plenty in business. Morale is a woman's business." [chuckle] So, again, telling women how to be a good woman, how to be a good wife, and again, kind of up to someone else to tell a woman how to be in her life.

07:38 JB: Then we jump forward a lot, up to the '80s, this quote by Phyllis Schlafly, who was kind of a famous conservative leader for being opposed to the feminist movement, and she said, "Feminism is doomed to failure because it is based on an attempt to repeal and restructure human nature." So, again, kind of telling... A a woman telling women, "The things that maybe you are fighting for as a feminist are counter to nature." So again, kind of defining for women who and what they should be.

08:19 JB: Jumping a little bit more recently to some more recent examples of kind of deciding how women should act and who they should be, Hillary Clinton has been a subject of so much of this sort of talk, so it's easy to find plenty of examples related to her. One from 2008, Chris Matthews talking about Hillary Clinton, saying, "The reason she is a senator and a candidate is because her husband messed around." So, again, kind of defining a woman by men, limiting her capabilities. And then again, finally, to our more recent history of our President, talking about Hillary Clinton on the campaign, he said "I just don't think she has a presidential look, and you need to look presidential." So, again, that kind of talking about who women can be, and how they can look, and how they can appear in the world.

09:25 JB: So, maybe this seems like a jump, but I think there's this trend that we see through history of talking about who and how to be for women. And even though it's not as extreme as we saw in the earlier quotes, and plenty of examples we can pull from much earlier in history, that same sentiment is still there in the way we talk about women. And it can be pretty nuanced. So this is another example I think is interesting, when you're talking about kind of this idea of telling women who to be and how to be, and how to act in the world. A couple of years ago, there was a lot of conversation about this idea of 'vocal fry' and basically criticizing the way that women, young women especially, were talking in the world. A lot of women, men weighing in on this, I think it was especially talked about for in radio, people on the radio and on TV, that they kind of exhibited this trait called 'vocal fry' which was a way of talking. And basically, there was a kind of broad decision that it's a bad way of talking.

10:44 JB: And whether or not it's... I think that's kind of up to your own judgement. But to me it, again, struck back to this idea that the way that women naturally approach something, is off. Because you wonder, "Well, who decided that there is a right way to talk, [chuckle] or what is the professional way to talk?" Or this third example here in the bottom is from a law firm, presenting again, presentation tips for women specifically. A lot of sexist language in there to start with, but also the idea that kind of women need to be changed to be more like men, and act like the standard presenter, the standard speaker, which probably has been dominated by male voices for history.

11:46 JB: And then finally, I guess just continuing on that this is more of a nuanced story, I think we see this even in really subtle ways, where we're telling women what to do. It's so often that a lot of, kind of the standard way of writing headlines or stories for women on the Internet have those 'should' word, have those directives. Again, kind of inherent in these words is the idea that women need to be told what to do, even when it's subtle things like telling "This is what you need to do in this situation to get ahead," it's still the idea that women themselves don't have the answers, they need to be told what to do. So, I know that might seem a little disconnected, but to me, it really comes back to feminism and the debate that we're having right now over feminism, because the question is, who is the feminist? What is a feminist? And what do you have to be to be a feminist? And this was continuing to be discussed across the different voices, and by different women as well.

13:14 JB: I pulled these quotes just to point out that there's a lot of different perspectives about being a right or wrong feminist, and it's... Can we equate that decision to... Or the statement of going on a magazine and not wearing makeup with other feminist acts. And I think my end point here is just that this is... Are we getting any place by debating with each other what is a feminist? Or does it make more sense to turn to the actual issues at stake? And I think that, following back into the pattern that is laid out by history of telling women what to do, is a really dangerous path for us to go down, and I think it's a default pattern that is laid out before us. And we need to resist that path so that we can focus on the things that are really important.

14:32 JB: So, coming back to Emma Watson, her reply to some of the criticism of her of that Vanity Fair picture was this quote, she said "Feminism is about giving women choice. Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with. It's about freedom. It's about liberation. It's about equality. It's not... I really don't know what my tits have to do with it." She's basically saying I think what we're talking about here which is like "Let's get away from this debate about who is a feminist, what is a feminist, and what does it mean to be good or bad feminist, and let's get back to actually the issues at stake."

15:18 JB: So, before we get to those issues, I just wanted to... I thought it was interesting to think about the term of feminism and how it's been discussed over time. So I checked that with Google Trends, and this is as far back as Google Trends goes, so 2004, and it's interesting, you see there was kind of this peak in interest in feminism, and then it dipped down and now it's coming back to the most interest, at least from people's searches on the internet that we've seen since 2004.

15:49 JB: Zeroing in on some of... On more recent history, zooming into the last year, you can see where there's been kind of growing interest, and then a couple little peaks, interestingly, right around... I thought that there might be a peak around the election, but it was actually the inauguration, which we know also coincided with the Women's March in Washington and women's marches around the world, and then, even more, a little more interest last week with that, A Day Without Women Protest, International Women's Day. So a little interesting insight there telling us that women, it's not this kind of debate about feminism that's gaining attention and bringing more people to be interested in our causes, it's actually coming together and uniting, and making our voices heard. So actually, that first peak that you saw in 2004 was the March For Women's Lives, which was a huge march in Washington focused on pro-choice, advocacy, and rights for women. And then again, we see the next peak since 2004 comes in 2017, when we again had another march in Washington. So again, images of mass amounts of women coming together and sharing their messages.

17:39 JB: When I think of feminism, I was thinking I can share all the definitions, but of course, you guys all know what's the definition of feminism is, that's why you're here, and Jillian has shared that as well. But I think that one thing that gets a little bit lost when we think about feminism is how much it's really connected with freedom. We're talking about freedom for women and freedom for all people. And when we talk about freedom, it's the absence of necessity, coercion, or constraint in choice or action. And I think that that's a really great message to have in our minds when we think about what is feminism.

18:20 JB: So I decided to... For the rest of the presentation, I wanted to share with you a little bit breaking down some of the core tenets of feminism with that in mind. And then I'm gonna go through and talk about some examples of women... I know women who've written for Milk, kind of showing their own version of feminism. And then I'm gonna talk about a few takeaways for you and that you can think about going forward in defining your own feminism.

18:54 JB: So, this is a really simple little chart, and it might be a little strange to think about, but I... Looking back at that history I shared, I think about feminism in these three kind of buckets, and I put it in a triangle thinking kind of the hierarchy of needs that is kind of one way to think about feminism and equality and fight for freedom for everyone. At the base, I think is really access, and I'm gonna break down a little bit more about what I mean here. Access... And then I think from there we go to choice, so once you have access to basic things, you have your basic rights, then we talk about the choice to decide for yourself what you want to pursue. And then finally, beyond just having a choice, it's being valued for the qualities that you bring and the innate characteristics of women. And I'm gonna talk a little bit more about what I mean here. I think that through history, the feminist movement has moved up this triangle. And while there's still lot of issues to solve in the access piece, I think we also need to be thinking more about how we can move the movement and our actions up to thinking about all parts of this triangle.

20:32 JB: So first, access. There's a lot to unpack here in thinking about equal access for women. First of all, healthcare. A lot of different statistics here, but just a couple I highlighted, thinking about healthcare in states where there is no legislation, which in our changing healthcare system in the US, is increasingly in threat. Women are charged more for their healthcare 92% of the time in the US. And that's right now in states where that isn't regulated. And this difference in charge, costs women on average $1 billion a year. So basic access that's being limited to women compared to men. Next: Education. Globally, education access is a real divide between men and women. Girls are deprived of an education more often than boys, consistently in all levels of education. Globally, really focusing on developing countries. Two-thirds of the world's illiterate people are women. And that's 781 million people in the US. Sorry. 781 million people in the world are illiterate; two-thirds of those people are women.

22:15 JB: Safety; one-third of women have experienced violence from an intimate partner. It's a known credible number, that's globally. So, basic safety is still not available to women often. Influence; another inequality here. Across the world, only a fifth of all elected government officials are women, and as we know, that really has drastic effects completely down the chain. If you don't have women in positions of power making the decisions, then the needs of women are not gonna be fully represented.

23:04 JB: And finally, salary and opportunity, and all that goes from that. We know that there's still a wide gap in wage. For every dollar that a white man makes, women make much less. So, Latino women make only 54 cents on the dollar for every man, and African-American women make just 64 cents on the dollar for every man. And native Hawaiians, these are Pacific Islander women, make only 55 cents on the dollar for men. White women make just 78 cents on the dollar for every white man. So, it's still a lot of injustice there as well.

23:58 JB: Next, thinking about choice. Then, when we have basic access there's still a lot of disparity in choice. Again, a lot we can talk about here, a lot of facts that I'm sure you're all familiar with. But when you think about just the basic choice to live your life for yourself versus being married, 15 million girls around the world are married before the age of 18. And coming back to the US, when you think about the choice to have a family or go to work, there's still a lot of limitations for women to make that choice. 12% of US workers in the private sector get paid maternity leave through their employer. So there's a lot of limitations still for women's choice.

25:05 JB: And then of course, there's the choice to make decisions about her own body when it comes to reproductive rights and access to abortion. There's still a lot of stress there, just the basic ability to have a choice about what to do with her own body. And then finally, when we think about value, this is a little bit more of a theoretical idea, we can't really tell you what the state of women's value in the world, but I thought this quote really summed up some of the thinking. Evelyn Reed said: "Women's inferiority is the product of a social system which has produced and fostered innumerable other inequalities, inferiorities, discriminations and degradations. But this social history has been concealed behind the myth that women are naturally inferior to man."

26:11 JB: And I think that, as much as we wanna think that that's not the case, this sort of belief is still inherent in so many things that so many parts of our society... Just even bringing it back to some of the things that we talked about in the introduction, the idea that women need to be told how to act, the idea that women's natural way of speaking is off, the idea that women can't decide for themselves, or don't have the capacity to define their own being, or define their own path, comes back to this idea that women are naturally inferior and need to look to society, look to men to make those decisions and give them guidance. And I think there's just still so much that we need to do to change that way of thinking and change the way organizations are being led and designed around not valuing women.

27:28 JB: So, I think... Now I wanted to share some examples of women taking feminist action in their lives. And I love this... I think this quote from Mitch McConnell sums it up so well. This is kind of the history of feminism; "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted." There's a lot of barriers, a lot of obstacles that women have faced, and the feminist movement has faced, but she persisted. And she will persist, and she is persisting. And I know that that's really the message and theme of what we're doing. To give you just a quick little snapshot of our view over Milk, it's coming back to the same idea that a lot of barriers have been broken. But yet, as I just shared, and as you know, there's so much inequality, so much basic disparities that we need to fix.

28:45 JB: And then beyond that, there's still a lot to do when thinking about giving women, you're taking back the ability to make decisions for ourselves and build the world that we envision, build the life that we dream of. So at Milk, we're providing a space to do that by providing space for women to explore through essays, to share their stories and share their experiences of taking action in their own lives. And so I wanted to share with you, as I said, I really take my inspiration from what other women are doing, so I wanted to share with you a few examples that I think are really great cases of women taking feminist action in their own life, even when that seems quite subtle.

29:55 JB: So first, this is an essay from a woman talking about how she didn't want, how she... It kind of came out saying that she doesn't want to have a child, and exploring what that means as a woman today. Again, this is kind of going back to this idea that women are defined by others and she asked, "As a civilization, we've walked on the moon, we've cloned humans, and we've created technology fearsome in its reach. But still the concept of femininity is equivalent to being a wife, and more importantly, a mother." So she is pushing back on this definition of women and saying, "Can I still be a woman if I don't want to be a mother?", and taking that decision for herself, taking that action for herself. It seems pretty subtle, but I think that this is also a really great example of a feminism, day to day.

31:01 JB: Another great example from Amber Childs, she wrote about her reflection on an event that had happened in the news. There was a young African-American woman who was on a flight, and someone had a health emergency. A flight attendant said, "Can I ask for a doctor to come forward?" This woman was a doctor. She came up and said, "Yes, I can help." And the flight attendant kind of dismissed her, said, "Do you have any proof?", and dismissed her. And then shortly thereafter, an older white man came up and said that he could help; she did not ask for any identification from him, and he proceeded to do something with the person on the plane. So she wrote this piece kind of exploring what this meant for her. She's a PhD doctor, African-American woman, and this experience really connected with her because she said even though she couldn't relate to that exact experience, she could relate to people misjudging her, not seeing her for her true ability, placing these kind of biased judgments on her and who she is and what she does. And she talked about things that now she is gonna do in her own life as kind of a reaction from this incident.

32:32 JB: So she wrote, "As I read about the incident and the responses that followed, I also felt a layer of responsibility. It is the responsibility to ensure that we as black women professionals educate, protect, and support not only ourselves, but a rising generation of young aspiring girls of color. Calling attention to these issues despite the anger, exhaustion, and hurt, may serve not only to validate and support ourselves and each other, but also serve to prevent others from internalizing the idea that the professional ranks are absent people of color. By refusing to tuck away the hurt, risking the accusations of playing the race card, and opening up dialogues and conversations, forcing eyes and ears to turn toward these issues, we can stand up against the voice of that flight attendant becoming our own." Really powerful words and a really great example of taking feminist action.

33:25 JB: And finally, the story, even more subtle, actually by my sister, talking about how she learned that she didn't have to be loud to be strong. So she talked about how she felt like she had been told in order to be a powerful woman, in order to be a strong feminist, in order to be an advocate for other women, she needed to speak in a certain way, but when she found her own natural voice and embraced that, she realized she was even more powerful. So she said, "As women fighting for equal opportunity, we're encouraged to raise our voices in order to be heard among the male colleagues in the room. We're told to take charge, be loud, and stay loud until someone listens. But I don't need to change my temperament in order to change the world."

34:21 JB: So I just wanna close by kind of pulling this all together with a few takeaways. My message I want to leave with you is that feminism isn't defined by anyone else. It's just like being a woman, just like being a human. It's up to you to decide what that means to you and what issues are important to you, and what it means to embody that in your daily life. So, ask that you define feminism for yourself. And then find ways to act. Take actions on that feminism daily, and share your story and share your voice and your perspective with the world. And I found a few quotes that I think really connect with these ideas. So defining feminism for yourself. This is a quote from Bell Hooks; "If any female feels she needs anything beyond herself to legitimate and validate her existence, she is already giving away her power to be self-defining, her agency." So don't give away that power. Decide what issues are important to you and what it means to be a feminist for you, and don't let anyone decide that for you.

35:47 JB: Finding ways to act daily. Here, as I shared some of those examples in those Milk essays, the actions can be subtle. We talked about how some of these big protests make a big difference in the big picture, but it's also the little actions, the decisions that you make for yourself, for the way that you treat others, the way that you push direction in your workplace, in your home, in your school setting, wherever you are. Those are the little actions that are really gonna push this movement forward. Jessica Valenti said, "Maybe doing the work of feminism is more important than identifying as a feminist. After all, word isn't just an identity, it's a movement. It's something you do." Again, I think that was a really great quote talking about this idea of taking action for yourself. And finally, along with taking this action is sharing that action and sharing your perspective on feminism, on the world, on the state of women, and pushing back even sometimes when that might differ from some of the popular talk around some topics.

37:14 JB: I love this quote from Simone de Beauvoir, she said "Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with absolute truth." And I think this is so true and really brings us back to that first point I made that so much of the world is defined by men, and the standards set by men, in so many settings. And it's really up to us to change that story and start to define it for ourselves and tell the story for ourselves. So, I know that was a lot of talking, and I'm gonna close it there. I'll just mention that if you're thinking about sharing your own story and making your perspective known, Milk is one of the great places where you can do that and I'd love for any of you to share your story on Milk. So please email me at jilly@readmilk.co if you're interested in sharing your story on Milk. You can also subscribe to our weekly newsletter where you can get a new essay every week in your mailbox, and that comes out every Friday. If you go to ReadMilk.co, you can see a link to subscribe. So with that, I guess I'll open it up for questions.

38:33 Speaker 2: Awesome, Jilly. Thank you so much for that presentation. Oftentimes, it's a little upsetting when we talk about those facts, right, of inequality that still exists, but it's still super important to talk about. And everybody, thanks for joining us today. Again, if you have any questions for Jilly, please feel free to send those in through the chat box. I'm gonna actually get started, we had a couple come in through Twitter, Jilly. So I'll get started. "I'm a feminist, but I get flustered and upset when someone challenges me on what that means. Do you have any tips or even sample language about how I can defend myself and the movement without starting a fight?"

39:14 JB: Yeah. I totally... I think that's a really common feeling, and it goes back to this idea that feminism has been defined by other people and has been misconstrued by so many into being a negative thing. I would just encourage you again to think about what feminism is for you, not let anyone else put words in your mouth, and decide what that means for you. The basic definition as we talked about is the quality of the sexes. And it's hard to argue with that, but... I would keep that in mind. But also, just think about the issues that are important to you and how you identify with that word. And speak honestly, that's the best way to connect with people.

40:11 S2: Thanks, Jilly. There's actually a conversation happening on Twitter under our Take Back Feminism hashtag about baby boomers and how they maybe don't feel included in the feminism movement these days. Maybe because they don't feel that they relate to the same inequality that we're... Or they felt was different in equality previously. How do you think maybe millennials today can have a conversation with the baby boomers about joining together in this movement?

40:54 JB: Yeah. I've heard that a lot. That was something actually we've talked about on Milk around the election, when it was still early in the primaries. There was talk about that, "Can young women relate to the struggle of boomer women, and is that maybe one reason that younger women weren't connecting with Hillary Clinton?" I know there was a lot of talk and discussion around that idea. But I think, of course, women of different generations have gone through different struggles, and it's really important for millennial women to acknowledge what boomer women have overcome, and our mothers, our grandmothers, the different experiences that they've gone through. For me, hearing women's voice is always the most powerful.

41:42 JB: So I would encourage millennial women to just ask questions of the older women in your life, hear about what it was like to be a woman at different times in their life; what was it like to go to work for the first time, and maybe be one of the few women in the office? What was it like to make decisions about having kids or getting married? And I think it's in those stories where you find that you can really... And then I think in the same vein, having millennial women share their story with the boomer women can help create that exchange. So I wouldn't wanna put into... Tell someone what the struggles are that they're facing that they should explain to another generation, but I think just getting down to the basics and sharing your experiences is the best way to build those connections.

42:38 S2: Absolutely, same story. We've had a question come in. "Women who are against abortion don't feel that they are feminine. Do you agree that we must help them understand that feminism is not one issue?"

42:53 JB: Yeah. I think definitely, I think it goes back to defining feminism for yourself. So, for someone, when it's hard to disconnect the idea of having full rights and access to make decisions about your own body from being a feminist, and that's their perspective, but if women who have different perspectives, I don't think that we should dismiss them from the movement. But we should have a dialog. I think that's one of the big problems that we are... In so many ways, we're standing on our sides and we're not talking to each other, but we'll find when we do talk that I think we have more in common than we think.

43:47 S2: Great. Thanks, Jilly. Our next question: "I think it's so important that we acknowledge, like you mentioned, that we take action for ourselves rather than expect everyone to just change. How can we come alongside to encourage other women to take action to develop ourselves rather than just complain or protest without accidentally offending a fellow feminist?"

44:09 JB: Yeah. [chuckle] Yeah, that's a big one, thank you for the question. Again, I think it comes back to getting stuck on some of these issues without connecting to what we're really facing. In my view, I think telling stories and sharing our authentic experiences is the most powerful way that we can get past that. It's one thing to post a rant on Facebook responding to something in the news, but telling a story of something that you've experienced in your life, even maybe if someone doesn't believe that some experience is happening to women, I think sometimes we wanna resist the idea and try and change our thinking or try and persuade ourselves or other people that there isn't this injustice in the world. But when you hear the experience of a real person, perhaps someone you know who's gone through experiences of discrimination, of experience of harassment, of violence, of lack of access, that issue becomes more real. So, I think that's a big question, I think that that's something we have to figure out, but to me, coming back to stories and authentic connection and conversations among women, not defaulting to this way of yelling at each other and telling each other what to do, that's our challenge to find ways to connect and share stories rather than just to talk from a distance.

46:07 S2: Awesome. Absolutely. Jilly, we have one more question before we wrap up. Okay, "How do we deal with the differences that exist between women based on race and class?" It sort of touches upon the movement of intersectional feminism, which is a pretty hot topic today too.

46:28 JB: Yeah, yeah. I think it's a great question and it's definitely something that is still being worked through by a lot of people, and there's a lot of history in the women's movement, in the feminist movement of not including women from different races and classes, and that's a real shame, and something that I think this generation is working to make this movement much more inclusive and bring disparate movements together. Because, I think, together we're much more powerful, as we talked about in those peaks in the interest in feminism; it was those times when we can come together when our voices are heard more collectively. But I think, again, going back to discussion, sharing stories, recognizing the experience of women is not singular, even women in different classes and different races experience life in really different ways, but even women within similar demographics might experience the world in really different ways, and we need to learn about those different experiences and acknowledge them and work together to help all women get to a world that they envision, and that might look different for different women; not every woman is gonna want the same life right?

48:01 JB: So, I think kind of listening to each other, acknowledging their stories, and then at the same time, not... I think one worry is that these differences keep women apart, and to me that's one of the biggest threats to women's progress is that we spend too much time fighting with each other. Whether its not understanding our own experiences or telling women that they can't be part of the movement because their experience is different, I think that that's the patriarchy getting in our way. I think we need to find more ways to come together and hear each other and fight for each other.

48:56 S2: Absolutely. Jilly, thank you so much for all the wonderful advice, the tips, and the really wonderful presentation for this Jam Sessions. Thank you everyone for listening in today. We feel ike this is such an important topic right now. We're gonna be shining a light on how to take back feminism all month long. This being Women's History Month, we're gonna be doing that on social media, and that's in New York and across the country. We're screening the documentary She Started It throughout many of our chapters. We're also having a Twitter chat tomorrow with Jules from BUST Magazine to continue this conversation about feminism and feminist action. And we have a huge panel event happening on March 29th in New York, with author Jimmie Briggs, Paola Mendoza, and Carmen Perez, who are the organizers of the Women's March on Washington, with Sallie Krawcheck, who's the Chair of Ellevate Network and Co-founder/CEO of Ellevest. And it's gonna be moderated by Kristy Wallace, who's our Ellevate President. That's gonna be a really amazing event. That's March 29th in New York.

50:00 S2: If you're not in New York and can't join us live, you can also watch the live stream on our website. All of this information for all of these events can be found on our website under upcoming events, so please check it out. We hope that you can be a part of this. It's part of the Take Back Feminism campaign, which is all-month long. If you still have question for Jilly, please feel free to contact her with the information that's up on the screen. We'd love to hear from you as well, so please feel free to reach out to info@ellevatenetworks.com. We also got Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. As a reminder, our Jam Session today was recorded, and it can be viewed on our website starting tomorrow. Thanks everybody, have a great day. Thank you so much, Jilly.

50:42 JB: Thank you.


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So many people forget that the term “feminism" actually refers to the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. Too often is becomes synonymous with criticism, man-hating, and exclusivity. The reality is that feminism in fact supports people of all backgrounds and supports diverse communities - and is at its core inclusive.

Given how long women have been fighting for our rights and the progress we’ve made so far, we forget that there is still more to be done — and that includes taking back what it means to be a feminist. Join us for this special Jam Session with Jilly Badanes, Analytics Consultant and Founder of Milk: a space for women to explore their authentic perspectives and celebrate their natural power - for a discussion on why our understanding of fighting for women’s rights has become what it is today and what we can do to #TakeBackFeminism.


Jilly Badanes
Jilly Badanes

Analytics Consultant; Founder, Milk

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Faith Keith
March 14, 2017

This was great! I really enjoyed Jilly's lecture and she drove home that we women must take charge and must develop ourselves as strong women. I wish there was MORE encouragement to women to develop ourselves as a way towards equality and steer each other away from only complaining and protesting in hopes that we can change other peoples' perspective. I agree that the way we break the profiling, is to prove that we don't fit the profile. Thank you, Jilly!