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Meredith C. Carroll: When bold women lead, choice and change follow

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

Reflect for a moment on the dumpster fire that’s been smouldering for the past three years and ask yourself if, say, humanity might be scads happier and Armageddon would still be imminent if more women were in charge.

The (once) famously male-dominated ski industry is slowly evolving to recognize the benefits of not just women on top, but also identifying strong female employees lower down the ladder. The Colorado Sun reported last week that Vail Resorts — whose board of directors is nearly 50% female and has women leading eight of its 37 ski areas — has a system in place to nurture future female leaders within the company to grow inclusion while deepening insight as well.

“If you have ever been the one in the minority, whether it’s gender or race, the power of being included I do think gives you a very good perspective on the importance of including a diverse collection of people in conversations,” said Vail Resorts mountain division president Patricia Campbell.

Rachel Held Evans, a Christian blogger and New York Times best-selling author who died unexpectedly in May at age 37, wrote an essay in 2016 on voting for pro-choice candidates in a shining example of how critical thinking, radical bravery and hard work is more apt to effect long-term meaningful change than legislation devoid of dignity, logic and compassion.

“Even though I think abortion is morally wrong in most cases, and support more legal restrictions around it, I often vote for pro-choice candidates when I think their policies will do the most to address the health and economic concerns that drive women to get abortions in the first place,” Evans said. “For me, it’s not just about being pro-birth; it’s about being pro-life.”

It’s an important perspective to keep in mind as the U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear oral arguments March 4 in an abortion case out of Louisiana, about which 200 federal lawmakers filed an amicus brief asking the court to “reconsider” Roe v. Wade.

Also on March 4, signatures are due for a possible Colorado ballot initaitive that would ban abortion after 22 weeks. As one of only seven states with no abortion restrictions, the potential impact of the measure is far-reaching.

“In Colorado, it’s imperative that we hold our ground on this issue and continue being a safe haven for folks who must bear the burden of travel for their abortion care,” Fawn Bolak, the co-founder of Keep Abortion Safe, told The Denver Post last month.

That’s because within the next year and a half, approximately 25 million women of reproductive age will be living in states that offer no abortions, and it is evident that “politically motivated restrictions and bans in other states don’t get rid of the need people have for access to abortion care,” Jack Teter, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ political director, said in the Post.

Actress Michelle Williams addressed another aspect of the trickle-down effect of choice during Sunday’s Golden Globes telecast (“To choose when to have my children and with whom, when I felt supported and able to balance our lives, as all mothers know the scales must and will tip towards our children”) while urging women to vote in their own “self-interest.”

“It’s what men have been doing for years, which is why the world looks so much like them. But don’t forget: We are the largest voting body in this country,” Williams said. “Let’s make it look more like us.”

Or at least more like Finland, where Prime Minister Sanna Marin, 34, has announced plans to pilot a country-wide, four-day workweek with six-hour workdays.

“I believe people deserve to spend more time with their families, loved ones, hobbies and other aspects of life, such as culture,” she said. “This could be the next step for us in working life.”

Indeed, studies show abbreviated work schedules boost customer satisfaction, worker productivity, happiness, health and wealth, even while also reducing carbon emissions. It’s a move with almost all upside that’s rooted in a philosophy not dissimilar to Evans’ doctrine on how to keep abortion rates low, which is: “not to simply make it harder for women to terminate unwanted pregnancies but to create a culture with fewer unwanted pregnancies to begin with,” she wrote.

Advocating for a fundamental shift in how we influence and innovate may or may not be as simple as, say, greenlighting a drone strike. Yet if we’re learning anything from being in a near-constant state of turmoil, it’s that amplifying fresh and bold voices has reached a new level of criticality.

More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.


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