Category: Cultural Evolution


Time to Be Human: Gender Liberation and the Creation of a New Culture

Posted by Elizabeth Debold in Blog, Cultural Evolution, Feminism, Gender, Leadership, Liberation, Masculinity, women, Women's liberation. Comments Off on Time to Be Human: Gender Liberation and the Creation of a New Culture

28th April

The United Nations declared 1976-1985 the Decade of Women, which created an international consensus on the importance of women’s political and social equality. The African Women’s Decade began in 2010. And in the United States, analysts have called 1992, 2012, and 2013 the Year of the Woman. For the last forty-plus years, since the student revolts of the ‘68 generation, media pundits, activists, and cultural savants have repeatedly announced that women have toppled male hegemony. Recent books, even those written by men such as The Athena Doctrine, explain that women’s ways of thinking or leading will lead to greater success in our highly interdependent, networked world.

It’s now women’s time. Finally. After many, many millennia of male domination, patriarchy is dying and women are stepping forward. Let’s heave a big sigh of relief and embrace the new era of women….

Well, I … Read More »


Happiness and Having It All

Posted by Elizabeth Debold in Consciousness, Cultural Evolution, Feminism, Gender, Leadership, Uncategorized, women, Women's liberation. Comments Off on Happiness and Having It All

13th August

Anne-Marie Slaughter‘s recent article in the Atlantic,“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” has once again raised in public a question that has been privately vexing women for the past several decades (…or longer): How can we pursue our talents and contribute to culture significantly and be the devoted mothers that so many educated women want to be?

How do we slay this dragon? Slaughter, who should get many kudos for her frank presentation of the whole megillah of this dilemma for women at the highest echelons, falters here. Sure, I agree when she says that we need new values to make this work. But which values? The tricky thing is that there are two competing value sets from the two spheres of modern life: public (business and politics) for men and private (children and home) for women. The private sphere’s system … Read More »


The Gender Situation & the Situation Room

20th May

A few news events have caught my eye this past week—particularly, the Orthodox Jewish newspaper that photoshopped Hillary Clinton out of the iconic Situation Room photo and The Atlantic Monthly’s report “Danger: Falling Tyrants” by Jeffrey Goldberg on the move toward democracy in the Middle East. But it was an email exchange with one of our former editors/writers, Maura O’Connor, who is reporting from Afghanistan where she’s embedded among US troops, that made me think about these events in the context of our responsibility, as sophisticated postmodern individuals who are living in a pluralistic global society. We often literally brush up against those who have very different worldviews—radically different ways of understanding reality and human relationship.

Maura told me that she and a friend, another young American female journalist, were talking about whether to wear headscarves in … Read More »



Women Awakening…to the Power of Choice

Posted by Elizabeth Debold in Blog, Cultural Evolution, Gender, Pop Culture, Uncategorized. 4 comments

10th November

“I do think there is an awakening happening among women,” Marianne Schnall, founder of feminist.com, said to me, “and it needs help and we need to support each other. We have so many choices now but if we don’t know who we are then we won’t know how to make those choices count.” I agree with Marianne. In the last few weeks, I’ve been interviewing a lot of women in preparation for the two seminars for women that I’m leading on November 13 & 14. Some women, like Marianne, think deeply about what’s going on with women; others are your average great women negotiating the complexity of their lives. Every one of them spoke about this deep longing for more–and simultaneously, a struggle to figure out how to make choices that will enable them to release the greater potential … Read More »


What Do We Mean by “Masculine” and “Feminine,” Anyway?

8th November

Quick: “masculine”–take ten seconds and say the words that come to mind that describe masculine. Next, do the same with “feminine.” That was the first exercise that my friend and colleague Cindy Wigglesworth and I asked participants to do in the breakout session that we led at the Integral Leadership in Action conference (October 15-18). What did the participants say?


Caster Semenya: When Gender is Not Sex

23rd October

Imagine what it must be like for Caster Semenya, the top South African female runner who was in the news recently because her sex has recently been challenged. By “sex” I am not referring to her sexuality, but to the physical, biological characteristics that determine whether one is male or female. That basically comes down to whether one has testes or ovaries. Her fantastically impressive victory in the 800 meters in Berlin recently raised questions about her sex—questions that she herself shrugged off as “a joke.” Semenya has no penis; all of her life, she has thought she is a girl—a very athletic girl who loves to run and compete. Actually, to say that she “thinks she is a girl” probably misrepresents that unthinking sense of simply being who you are, living the life that you have, in the context … Read More »


What Do Women Want? Again…

Posted by Elizabeth Debold in Blog, Cultural Evolution, Culture, Gender, Uncategorized. 13 comments

1st June

Sorry about using that tired question “what do women want?” to start off this post. Freud asked it–likening women’s consicousness to a dark continent both unexplored and presumably unknowable–and every exasperated male writer and far too many marketers have used it since. But the question is popping up again. In a recent New York Times op-ed column entitled “Liberated and Unhappy,”  Ross Douthat reports on an analysis by economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers that indicates that across race, marriage status, economic bracket, and even country, women’s subjective experience of being happy has declined both absolutely and in relation to men. Interestingly, in 1970–before the women’s movement so dramatically opened so many women’s life options–women were generally more happy than men. So, in the forty years since women in the West won their freedom to choose the lives that they want, they have become … Read More »


Vimala Thakar: Liberation Beyond Gender

5th May

Why don’t we know more about Vimala Thakar? I’ve just written a memoriam for our next issue about Vimala, a fiercely independent enlightened sage who pioneered a truly integrated form of inner and outer transformation, and the more I think about who she was and what she stands for, the more strange it becomes that she is so little known. There was almost no mention in the Western press that Vimala had passed away at her home in Rajasthan in March. In fact, even in her native India, the details of her passing were scarce. How could the world have missed the fact that perhaps the most spiritually enlightened woman on the planet had passed away? You would think, given the popularity of women’s spirituality, that she would be a well-known and widely revered figure, particularly among women. But she … Read More »





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