the social movements of the second part of this century, the women's
movement has undoubtedly been an epoch-making one. Thanks to relentless
efforts of hundreds of thousands of women, our voices are more and more
listened to and what we have to say about the necessity of transforming
our societies is taken more and more seriously.
If in the first instance it was urgent to express what we do
not like in societies which are dominated by male values, by now the
challenge has evolved. The moment seems to have come that we are asked
: yes right, it is time we try to find a balance between Yin and Yang
approaches. But apart from the justified defense of women's rights,
what do you propose to make our societies function differently, in a
more Yin way ? What exactly constitutes the feminine art of
doing things ? How do you conceive of power differently ? What is the
relationship of women to time, to money, to the resolution of
conflicts, to management ?
With a view to taking up this challenge, wishing to be able
to say : " yes ! women do have ideas for making real changes ! And here
they are ! ", we have examined a large number of theoretical works,
articles, testimonies and accounts of experience. What we found was on
the one hand a plethora of critical analysis and many concrete
proposals for improving women's position in society. On the other hand,
rare were the propositions explaining what women's ways of
handling things differently exactly consist of and how these could
contribute to transforming for the better the functioning of our
A major emphasis seems to be put on a special sensitivity and
a more personal approach to the outside world. In politics, for
instance, a woman is more likely to express her own personal opinion
rather than that of her party. Women politicians say they like to
exercise power in a more participatory way. Women advocate the
importance of relationships, of part-time work, of a less fragmented
and more holistic attitude towards science, of more respect for nature.
But have not indigenous peoples practised such values for thousands of
Is the real issue perhaps a difference between a
culture of control and a culture of compassion, between a culture based
on 'divide and rule' and a relational culture, rather than a difference
between a masculine and a feminine culture ?
Is this the question to be looked into ? We are calling all
those women who feel like participating in this search. We are seeking
witness accounts of " women's ways of doing things " : mothers and
homemakers who manage their households, company executives, directors
of NGOs, all kinds of professionals, advisors or consultants.
Who are these women ? How do they practice the feminine art of managing
things ? How do they change the world at their level ?
We invite you to speak about yourself or about other women.
And we will of course ensure that a summary of the messages we receive
are communicated to all who reply. Together we will be able to describe
with more clarity what we believe to be the changes that women feel are
essential and desirable.
Looking forward to reading your answers or speaking with you.
Edith Sizoo and Nadia Kosta