TALK’n TROUBLE: A pivotal year ahead

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Getting through the past year felt like carrying a bag of rocks through an obstacle course. 2021 was peppered with burdens and spiked with hurdles. We faced challenges to our health and finances, relationships, and our communities’ coherence. There was a staggering death toll from the ongoing pandemic, along with disturbing losses in our struggle for gender equity.

While Covid-19 continues to cause widespread illness, our society is infected with another kind of disease. Our voting and reproductive rights are under attack, basic needs go unmet, and our democracy is at risk. We need some big Trouble to defend against these threats. Navigating 2022 will require personal strength, mighty alliances, and the courage of our convictions. 

The word renewal feels right for this moment. As TroubleMakers in 2022, we’ll all need to renew our belief in ourselves and our power to define our destiny. We need to build on the work of the countless TroubleMakers who’ve moved us in the direction of gender equity over the last century.

There are plenty of examples in our lifetimes of a woman breaking through socially-constructed barriers to become the “first.” Whether as a legislator, sports broadcaster, or astronaut, their accomplishments are commendable. But, those singular achievements are not evidence of the real, sustainable change we’re seeking. 

In the study of statistics there’s a concept called “regression toward the mean.” Simply put, it describes the tendency of stuff to stay the same over time. While V.P. Kamala Harris is in the White House for now and there are more females in some corporate boardrooms, the fact remains that most of the people running the show are still old white men.

We need to move the ‘mean’ – change what is average – so it’s not unusual for a woman to be in any role she chooses. More women who decide to make Trouble and drive change are urgently needed in leadership and policymaking to protect and further social progress.

Remember this relevant quote from the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “When I’m sometimes asked, ‘When will there be enough [women on the Supreme Court]?’ and I say, ‘When there are nine,’ people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.”

We are losing ground and regressing to an era we thought we’d outgrown, witnessing the renewal of old struggles. We need renewed commitment to protect our rights. Advancement toward gender equity and stopping the loss of momentum will require substantial institutional and cultural change. The time to be a disruptor is NOW. Are we up for it?

Voting Rights

Senator John Lewis, who devoted his life to racial justice and equality, famously said, “Get in good trouble,  necessary trouble.”  He’s no longer with us. In his honor, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act was introduced in part to address changes in election law in states with a history of discrimination. The bill passed in the house in 2021. It’s now stalled and kept from a Senate debate. TroubleMaker Lisa Murkowski from Alaska was the only Republican Senator who supported the proceeding. 

Reproductive Rights

Sarah Weddington died on December 26, 2021. She was the woman who went before the U.S. Supreme Court at 26 with almost no legal experience and won one of the most consequential cases in American history. Roe v. Wade is now being challenged – again. Renewing the possibility that women will be denied the right to govern our bodies and direct our own lives.

Access to Health and Childcare

There are disparities in access to quality healthcare and a lack of adequate childcare services driven by social and economic inequities that current leaders in the U.S. are not addressing.  These basic needs equate to human rights that are being denied to our fellow citizens. As usual, women are disproportionately affected.

 Social and Environmental Needs

Student debt, clean energy, broadband access, family leave, safe roads, high-speed rail, income inequality; the list goes on. These significant issues are emblematic of the need to support equity for women and girls at the grassroots level. These issues impact lives from birth to death. We allow leaders to ignore them at our peril.

“Renew” is defined in many ways:

  1. resuming an activity (fighting for our rights)
  2. extending the period of validity of a license, subscription, or contract (upholding Roe v. Wade)
  3. replacing something that is worn out, run-down, or broken (a culture that oppresses women and girls)
  4. to make extensive changes in; to rebuild (institutions and social constructs that perpetuate inequity)

In 2022 TroubleMakers will renew our commitment to Trouble. We will sell products to fund organizations that promote equity for women and girls. We’ll continue recognizing and honoring TroubleMakers who are courageous disruptors. We will carry on with our celebrations of TroubleMakers for Good, who are role models and passionate supporters of our mission. And we’ll keep on encouraging participation and activism that improves opportunity and advances our wellbeing and that of our families, communities, and nation.

Stay tuned for more insights and inspiration.

Share the cool stuff you learn here with the TroubleMakers you know and love.

SPEAK UP – SPEAK OUT. THIS REALLY MATTERS.

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