On Sunday mornings, I look forward to seeing Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper in my inbox. Her positive outlook, thoughtful observations, and inspiring spotlights are a peaceful start to the end of my weekend. Last Sunday, she reflected on the life of Mr. Rogers as the film A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood was released this Friday, 11/22.
Growing up north of Pittsburgh–where Mr. Rogers lived and worked–I really did feel like he was my neighbor. I watched his show faithfully. My parents liked his soothing tone and the fact that he never pandered to children. I liked the puppets. Ms. Shriver writes, “Mr. Rogers saw into people’s hearts and souls. He recognized our collective wounds and gently guided us forward to a place where we felt safe, seen, soothed, and secure.”
The words “collective wounds” jumped out at me here. It feels as if our country, at this moment, is nothing but one big, gaping, collective wound and none, except the very rich and powerful, feel particularly safe, seen, soothed, or secure. This got me thinking about the work we do at Putting Women In Their Place. Our mission is to promote progressive, pro-choice womxn, and our focus is government. But let’s be honest– PWITP wants womxn to attain positions of power in any field of their choosing: business, media, music, law, sports, agriculture, culinary, education, science, technology, and space to the moon and beyond…
The importance of being safe, seen, soothed, and secure cannot be overstated. Seeing someone, soothing them when things are not going their way and making them feel safe & secure, even when you can’t fix their troubles–this is the very basis of nurturing. Of course there are men capable of this (Mr. Rogers pops to mind), but these compassionate, nurturing tasks are firmly in the wheelhouse of womxn. Only now are these qualities becoming valued outside the home, however, they are still not monetized.
My stepfather–a self-proclaimed feminist–tells a story of submitting reports when working in corporate America and having them returned with red circles, and the word “Motherhood” written in the margins. In other words, when his reports mentioned the emotional impacts of work, rather than nuts and bolts, numbers and financials, they were viewed as soft, like mothers–not in a good way.
Study after study shows that womxn in government produce tangible gains including greater responsiveness to citizens needs, and increased cooperation across the aisle. As more womxn are elected, they enact more policies that emphasize quality of life, reflect the priorities of families, womxn, and ethnic and racial communities.
Let’s look for a minute at Nevada–the first state to have a majority of womxn in the state legislature. Economic opportunity, healthcare, education, housing, criminal and social justice were top priorities exemplified by new laws that strengthened domestic violence penalties, a sexual assault survivors’ bill of rights, permanent funding for rape kit testing, and money for family-planning services. These policies see the people they represent, soothe their troubles, and increase a feeling of safety and security which is by definition the purpose of government by the people and for the people.
Womxn made huge gains in 2018, winning elections and taking office in unprecedented numbers. These gains were gains for our entire country. I hope you witnessed similar gains in your state and municipal 2019 elections. All eyes are turned now to next year. PWITP will be helping candidates + the organizations and PACS that support and train them with video, social media and digital strategy. Putting Women In Their Place has #2020Vision. Do you?