Women's Leadership Session Notes: ColletteThompson?, Elaine, DennaVandersloot?, PamHathaway?, Ann,NormaBurton,VickiRobin, CarolHiltner, AnneStadler?, SherryHelmke

The session began with women sharing why they had come and how they are currently or have previously used selforganizing to encourage and support women's leadership. The Girl Scouts were mentioned frequently. Several women had an interest in how this would work. One woman said her business partners had always been women. Another said "give me some women and we'll get it done." One woman shared her experience with the battered women's movement and how there are waves of consciousness. One woman said she needed a nurturing break. Another woman said she was working in Russia in an utterly self-organizing effort. Another woman said she believes the kitchen is a metaphor for women's leadership . . . where many people contribute to the outcome. Another woman talked about the WE-CAN Women's Circle project in Tacoma, WA, involving seventy women at seven organizations. The Berkana Institute's Conversation Starter Circle kit materials used in the project were shared with the group.

During the conversation, the following thoughts emerged: -women do self-organizing more easily, -traditionally women work in a circle, -no competition about roles -acculturation may cause men and some women to live up to the cultural norm of a leader -many indigenous people work from a model of power to -another model of power is power with -sometimes when we are leaderful we do it in a much more masculine way -leading from the feminine may mean intuiting -feminine leadership doesn't get noticed -historically, often women create something and men come and name and claim it -one woman asked "Where's the joy for you in this?"

The group then spoke about the reemergence of the sacred feminine. Also, one woman brought forward the negative connotation with the word "leadership" that many women experience. Perhaps because they have had a negative experience with a male leader or because they don't associate themselves with the role model. The group spoke about shifting the story of leadership. Peter Block suggests that people lead from a place of creating space and calling forth the gifts of people.

The issue of "mean girl" behavior aroise and a question arose "What can we do to support young women?"

It was suggested that the women view www.thegirleffect.org. The importance of ceremonies, initiation and ritual was also discussed. It was suggested that Derreck Jensen (sp?) has written on the topic of horizontal violence.

One woman reflected that when she works with big groups she uses what is commonly identified as feminine leadership because she gives her leadership to the group and it starts to move.

Another woman who does Family Constellation work with organization recalled a time when the women were inside the circle doing the healing and the men were on the outside acting as protectors.

The Berkana Institute's Women's Conversation Starter kits developed by Meg Wheatley, Lana Wertz, Teresa Posakony, Ann Linnea and Christina Baldwin can be viewed and purchased at www.berkana.org.