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Invoking Women’s Leadership
While working in the Global South, it was easy to identify the role that women were making in their local communities. Reports from many development agencies noted the profound difference that women make once given the financial means and the emotional support to start their own businesses and community initiatives.
When women take the lead, children go to school, health improves, and communities become more confident and motivated to work on their own behalf. Women also return the majority of their earnings back into the community.
In contrast, we noted that Western women were hesitant to step forward in their communities and claim their leadership. So we initiated the Women’s Leadership Revival Tour and led three Learning Journeys to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
The Women’s Leadership Revival Tour
For two years Meg Wheatley and musician/song-writer Barbara McAfee traveled North America with the Women’s Leadership Revival Tour, a lively combination of stories, music, local arts, and conversations that encouraged women to discover ways of stepping forward in service of their communities.
With the hard work of dedicated local hosts, and the talents of local artists, the Tour visited 17 cities in the U.S. and Canada, reaching about 2000 women. Berkana also created the Women’s Circle Starter Kit, containing an abundance of resources to support and nourish women in exploring the unique power of women’s leadership.
(see video in Resources)
The Women’s Leadership Revival Tour
The Invitation issued in 2007
Women all over the world – in villages, governments, organizations – are stepping forward to offer their leadership in service to the issues most affecting their communities. Though their lives vary greatly in material resources, they each are providing a crucial resource, the gift of their leadership.
The Women’s Leadership Revival Tour will be appearing in many different cities over the next year. We hope you will join us when the Tour appears in your vicinity. We promise a wonderful gathering that will stimulate your curiosity about where your own leadership can be of most benefit and inspire you to offer it in service to the needs of this time. May you discover even more ways to offer the gifts of your leadership.
Women’s Learning Journeys to South Africa
From 1995 to 2011, Meg Wheatley’s work in South Africa resulted in relationships with a broad spectrum of women leaders. They were a great source of inspiration to her personally, so Berkana offered three Women’s Learning Journeys for women from Western countries (North America, Europe, Australia) to meet these incredible women and be challenged and inspired by them.
We met in deep conversation with a wide variety of South African women: executive women of banks, universities and foundations; Cabinet secretaries and Commissioners in the Truth and Reconciliation process; founders and directors of orphanages, schools, and sanctuaries; young women social entrepreneurs in townships.
And always a highlight, The South African Fisherwomen who, against all odds and with incredible perseverance, succeeded within the all male fishing industry. And supported healthy communities with their profits.
We talked, laughed, cried, and sang together as we shared our difficulties and triumphs inovercoming challenges and bias so that we could contribute meaningfully to our communities.
We recognized that the struggle never ceases, and that joy abounds when we are together sharing our stories, no matter how harsh or tragic they are.