I’m inviting women I know to join me in a Red Tent gathering at my house. I want to listen and share with them about what it’s really like to be a woman today. I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently. What is expected from women in our society today? What do we expect from ourselves? What are the challenges we face?
It’s got to be said, Norway is a great place to be a woman. Working conditions, wages and job security are all good compared to other countries. We have a whopping 49 week’s parental leave in relation to the birth or adoption of a child, and 14 of these weeks are designated to the father. This means that fathers are more likely to engage closely with the child from the moment it is born. The idea is that the responsibility of parenthood will then be shared more equally between mother and father – or co-mother and co-father.
We also have great public health and pension schemes in comparison with other countries. So what could women possibly find challenging in Norway? There is still discrimination in the workplace, women still get paid less than men and women still have the main responsibility for childrearing and housework. In a society that is geared towards both partners working, we notice that one partner’s work is often valued higher than the other’s. It seems that some people are more equal than others.
So I’m sure my women friends and I will be talking about this when we meet, but I also think we will talk about how we as women treat each other. Were we raised to love ourselves? Did our mothers teach us to enjoy and work with our menstrual cycle? If not, how can we learn that now?
So I think we will be talking about how not to diet and how to eat well and how to be good to ourselves. I think we’ll share tips for how to set boundaries and how to let others in to help. And we will talk about how we can support each other better, how we can encourage each other and be there for each other.
One of the problems facing women today is how to be a woman. We are supposed to be superwomen, to be great at everything from cooking and cleaning to running multi-national companies. We’re supposed to love knitting and rock climbing and fund raising and the list goes on.
But I think there are as many ways of being a woman as there are women. And we’ve all got to find our own way. So I’ll be chatting with my women friends about how we can liberate ourselves and each other from expectations, and support each other in the choices we make. The Red Tent is sacred space, and therefore a safe place to talk about these things. I’m so very excited about starting a Red Tent community, and I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes.
Finding the community of Cycle Harmony has made a huge difference to me. I am delighted to be writing to you from the Red Tent and hope to share thoughts and experiences you recognise, or find useful to ponder upon. I look forward to working with you all in exploring what it is to be women, and hope to hear from you. ~ Vild