104 posts categorized "social change"

January 06, 2011

Women are changing the world, and now the men are agreeing.

Trusted pal, Marianne sent me to Paul Farrell's column on MarketWatch this week.

The good news -- men like Paul are now writing what women have known for some time -- we are the one's the world's been waiting for. Paul suggests that by the end of this decade, women leaders will be in place to clean up the mess. 

The bad news --it's a big mess -- Wall Street greed will make politics moot, populations are overloaded, and there is a breakdown in trust and social systems globally. 

Fear not, the market isn't waiting for 2020, it's already scanning everything women write on the web and gleaning what women want so that marketers can create more real-women-centric advertising.

Screen shot 2010-06-14 at 8.36.09 PM Advertising messages, more than anything else, reflect the change in our culture. We aren't going back to Mad Men days - ever - especially with old boy male mentality is being replaced. 

Thanks Marianne for sending this my way. Thank you Paul for playing a part in the revolution and most of all, thank you ladies for writing what's on your minds!

2020. Patriarchy ends: male dominance declines, women leaders rise

Back in 2011 it seemed clear that patriarchy, male dominance world culture, politics and economics throughout history, would collapse all by itself, without women engaging in any direct war, any “battle of the sexes” to defeat men at their own game. But in 2020, women may be our only salvation.

Dr. Jean Bolen, author of “The Millionth Circle” and a leader in organizing the United Nation’s 2015 Conference on Women, challenged women to confront males and put an “end to patriarchy,” because only women can “save the world.” Others like Gloria Feldt, author of “No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power,” are preparing a new generation of leaders.

Four decades ago my law school class had five women, today across America, women are a majority in most professional schools. Soon they will be called upon.

Why are male leaders failing America in government, business and finance? Jeremy Grantham’s firm GMO manages $96 billion. He predicted the meltdown, said it best in early 2008: American’s leaders are all “impatient ... management types who focus on what they are doing this quarter or this annual budget.”

Real leadership “requires more people with a historical perspective who are more thoughtful and more right-brained ... but we end up with an army of left-brained immediate doers. So it’s more or less guaranteed that every time we get an outlying, obscure event that has never happened before in history, they are always to miss it,” as in 2000, 2008 and again this decade.

Could we change the future?

In post-capitalism, post-patriarchy America, women will emerge from the ashes of “The Worst Decade in American History: 2011-2020.” Women leaders will emerge not just because the males’ short-term brains are sabotaging America’s long-term needs, but because the female brain has naturally evolved for long-term thinking.

Brain research tells us that 75% of men are left-brain short-term thinkers. Conversely, 75% of women tend to have strong right-brain traits: forward-thinkers, more awareness of the future, the big picture, with a strong sense of long-term benefits and consequences, peacemakers.

Full article here. 


December 30, 2010

I Resolve -- To Keep Earth in Business*

Screen shot 2010-12-30 at 1.40.13 PM If prior years were about green awareness, 2010 was about green market traction for companies and consumers. Next year, the market will turn full-frontal-green -- so in 2011  I resolve to buy green or buy nothing and nix the plastic packaging wherever I can. 

Because of progressive-thinking companies like Patagonia, thousands of businesses are turning into adults and taking responsibility for their eco/social-actions. Check out the video below on 1% for the Planet, it cured my cynicism.  (*BTW, whomever thought up "Keeping Earth in Business" as a tag line deserve a bonus. Love it!)

This is bigger than going green, it's about inspiring everyone around us to rethink our processes and give our lives a do-over. Need a personal mission statement, borrow Patagonia's: 

Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. 

Check out the video and see how the power of 1% for the Planet inspired Sweat Pea Bikes -- then see if you aren't like me wondering how you pull the cash together for a custom fit frame...  

(Go to Hulu.com if you want the full movie experience.)

November 10, 2010

Congratulations to Margaret Gordon, Purpose Prize Winner.

Margaret Gordon is proof that you don't need money, education, or position to get things done -- what you need is passion and commitment to a purpose. Margaret is a housekeeper who learned about the high amounts of cancer and asthma in her bay area from her work with an environmental family. Up until then she hadn't made the connection that greener cities mean healthier kids. 

She then connected the dots between the cause -- transportation gases; and the effect -- high asthma rates in children and worked to correct the problem. 

Thank you Margaret, for making the connection and then doing something about it and thank you to the Purpose Prize organizers for drawing attention to many puposeFULL people.

November 09, 2010

Earthster makes being socially responsible and transparent, easier

This blog is about co-creation -- women are doing many things to change the world, but if the world of business doesn't change at the same time, we're in a world of hurt. The Earthster system is the beginning of providing accountability to business that women will love. 

At this morning's webinar, Wal Mart, Seventh Generation, and Earthster (sister site Social Hot Spots) announced that they have teamed up with governments and companies to create a new law of the law -- the law of sustainability -- in a play-nice/be-transparent sort of way. 

Earthster is the public, open source backbone and keeper of the data in the same way that Wikipedia anchors community input to it's site. In Earthster's case, it's gathering third party approved information that comes from millions of supply chain contributors. Think Story of Stuff can now point to everyone and everything in the supply chain.

Below is a screen shot of what this visually looks like as products are tracked from their source to the store shelf. The common software and methodology will be available in multiple languages to encourage global participation. When the webinar link is available, I'll post it here.

Wal Mart will be testing the system more completely in the first three quarters of 2010 using the supply chains from ten vendors and rolling it out to the rest of their 60,000+ vendors at the end of the year. What happens at Wal Mart, doesn't stay at Wal Mart -- other big box stores will be using the same system and that's a good for everyone. 

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Earthster is agnostic in its design and is more of a clearinghouse for all information, not a standard that determines which information gets more credit than another. It creates that layer of transparency that has been missing in green products.

Earthster also changes the green marketing attitudes from "OMG We better not say the wrong thing or we'll be accused of greenwashing", to "We're doing the best we can and here is exactly where we are doing it."  Even the EPA is getting behind Earthster during a time when there are 300+ sustainable standards vying for the top slot. Standards mean nothing if the information isn't verified as accurate. 

What women will want to cheer about is that this move will speed up accountability on toxic materials, social equity, energy globally and many more issues. We won't have to hold political rallies to get rid of brain altering chemicals in our carpets. Earthster and the market competition will take care of it.

This new transparency will not only foster safer products, but infuse trust back into an economic structure that has to operate with/outside of all political systems -- and do it at a price point that small business can handle. Sites such as Good Guide will have a common way to rate their products. 

This gives me great hope, for people, planet and profits!

November 02, 2010

In Women We Trust to VOTE

I never considered myself a feminist, I always saw the world as a 50/50 proposition. That said, the majority of the things I take for granted today happened because women could vote.

The following email is making the rounds again. Each year I'm struck by how long and what physical pain it took to take half the American population seriously.

Have you voted yet? 

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Iron Jawed Angels

This  is the story of our Mothers and Grandmothers who lived only 90  years ago.  Remember,  it was not until 1920  that  women were granted the right to go to the polls and  vote.

The  women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed  nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs  asking for the vote. 

And  by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison  guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a  rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing  sidewalk traffic.'

They  beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her  head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping  for air.

They  hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against  an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice  Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack.  Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging,  beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the  women.

 Thus unfolded  the  'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917,  when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered  his  guards  to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because  they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the  right to vote.  For  weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their  food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.  

When  one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike,  they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and  poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured  like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.  

So,  refresh my memory. Some women won't vote this year  because  -  why,  exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our  vote doesn't matter? It's raining?  ...."


October 08, 2010

The FTC Wants Your Green Marketing Comments by December

Screen shot 2010-10-08 at 1.29.22 PM Ok green bloggers, here is your chance to influence governmental policy without going through that painful voting process -- the FTC wants to know what you think about the messaging on green products. In other words, how do you want them to put truth into green advertising via their Green Guidelines?  Go here to tell them, you have until December 10, 2010. 

Some example language...

• Marketers should not make unqualified general environmental benefit claims. They are difficult, if not impossible, to substantiate. (The current Guides state that marketers can make unqualified claims if they can substantiate all express and implied claims. Otherwise, they should qualify the claim.)

• Qualifications should be clear and prominent, and should limit the claim to a specific benefit. Marketers should ensure the advertisement’s context does not imply deceptive environmental claims. (In the current Guides, this guidance appears only in examples.)

Certifications and Seals of Approval

• This new section emphasizes that certifications/ seals are endorsements covered by the Commission’s Endorsement Guides and provides new examples illustrating how those Guides apply to environmental claims (e.g., marketers should disclose material connections to the certifier). (The current Guides address certifications/seals in only one example in the general environmental benefit section. 16 CFR 260.7, Example 5.)

• Because an unqualified certification/seal (one that does not state the basis for certification) likely conveys a general environmental benefit claim, marketers should use clear and prominent language limiting the claim to particular attribute(s) for which they have substantiation. (This provision highlights guidance already provided in current Guides’ Example 5.)

• Third-party certification does not eliminate a marketer’s obligation to have substantiation for all conveyed claims.

For the full write up go to http://www.ftc.gov/green.

These guidelines are extremely important as they become the backbone for all marketing material being created. It's one thing to be green and another thing to convey the attributes correctly and not mislead the public. 

The guidelines also cover:

  • Degradable materials
  • Compostable materials
  • Ozone-Safe / Ozone-Friendly
  • Made with Recyclable Materials
  • Free of AND Non-toxic products
  • Made with Renewable Energy
  • Carbon Offsets

Green is no longer a nice thing to do to create a new marketing edge. It is THE thing to do and we need a common, public way to talk about the accomplishments. 

September 26, 2010

Co-created Ready-to-Wear that's Good-to-Wear

Screen shot 2010-09-24 at 6.39.09 PM

This month's Green Mom Carnival topic is on sustainable clothing [defined by the Global Organic textile Standard]. It's held on Diane's Big Green Purse and is a painful subject for me--it's hard enough to find something that is professional and flattering; adding the organic requirement makes it almost impossible to locate anything other than T-shirts and hoodies. 

I love yoga-wear, clothes that work with your body and made from hemp or cotton, but I can't wear them to work. We have to get beyond hoodies, T's and pants. Sweetgrass is a step in the right direction, but still has nothing that I'd wear to a board room. Maybe, that's the problem, we need more boardrooms with looser dress codes...

Then I found Mountains of the Moon, which puts form into fashion and bridges the gap between comfort of the gym and the brashness of a boardroom in a fresh, transitional way which any age group could feel comfortable wearing. The prices were reasonable as well, and the products are said to be made in a sweatfree, USofA shop. Most are of a hemp and cotton mix. 

Screen shot 2010-09-26 at 8.42.02 AM

Screen shot 2010-09-26 at 8.43.10 AM Screen shot 2010-09-26 at 8.42.38 AM

Screen shot 2010-09-26 at 8.44.38 AM This is exactly what I have been coveting, a dress that fits in a carry-on suit case, can be personalized with necklaces or scarves and I didn't have to stop eating for a month to afford or fit into them. I hope the fashion industry takes note. For the record, I'm the demographic that has money to spend. 

Still, as excited as I am for ready-to- wear that is also good-to-wear, I'm not seeing proof on their site that they are truly eco-friendly. 

Coral Rose posted an excellent introduction paper following the path of how a T-Shirt is made and all the impacts that simple garment has on the environment. GOTS mention above is the law of the free-market land for organic textiles, even Wal Mart pays attention to it. [See Coral at the Lenzing booth at LA's Textile show.] 

As a member of the business community, the decisions we make in our personal lives are just as important as the ones we make in our professional lives. China sends us billions of dollars of cotton clothing, 45% of the cotton it uses comes from the US, unfortunately it isn't green cotton. Who knew that the US and China were so woven together. Both sides are sinners in this exchange--the US for using so many pesticides on their fields and China for allowing their dyes to go directly into the watershed. Both sides can also be saviors, as decisions by individuals make the difference in co-creating a new, global market. 

Case in point, Coral was a change agent for green cotton while she was a Sr. Buyer for Wal Mart, her organic decisions were part of the reason that Wal Mart started down their path to sustainability. But her decision to put organic cotton yoga-wear in the stores would not have created such a stir in Wal Mart's boardroom if the other "buyers", women consumers, didn't purchase them.

We are all co-creators in this green market movement--we are the designers, the Sr. Buyers, the sellers, the consumer buyers, and the writers of sustainable textiles; a multi-billion dollar industry with global impact. What we do at each stage makes a huge difference in changing the world's economy into one that is good for us all.

Go girls. Walk the talk and wear it well. 

September 07, 2010

A Reality Show, by Women for Women

I became a bit player in the In Women We Trust "reality show" the past two weeks. In the book I explored why women turn to each other for advice. In the real-life "show" last week i experienced the answer again and again as to why we are forming our our gender-specific groups at a time when we should all be "equal".

Screen shot 2010-09-07 at 4.11.13 AMFirst up, the Sales Shebang, where 25 female sales professionals came together in Chicago to share ideas and synergies. The women were gracious, giving, and very funny. 


A few days later I found myself in Pasadena at the Women in Green Forum with 300+ of the most engaging women leading sustainable practices in the Los Angeles area. 


Screen shot 2010-09-07 at 4.15.03 AM  

The realty is, it's just plain different when you have a room full of women talking or a room that's dominated by male discussion. The female style is more open, authentic and -- well -- real, real to me anyway and that's the difference on who I felt I could trust with information and who I couldn't. Because my guard was down, I was more open and didn't feel that anyone was holding back on me, either.  

At the Sales Shebang, trade secrets were exchanged as easily as emails. During the Women In Green Forum connections that would have taken months of cold calls were made in minutes. 

The big takeaway from both -- network convergence. Dots are being connected between the silos of disciplines. We may work in one sector, but we share with all.

By now everyone knows that women dominate consumer spending decisions. We are also moving into corporate positions for sales, marketing, purchasing and sustainability (congrats to Andrea Thomas) We may not be at the very top of the corporate food chain, but more of the decisions which effect that corporate bottom line are being made first by us -- that's a reality show worth watching.

August 26, 2010

Women Count with Susan Bulkeley Butler

Screen shot 2010-08-26 at 9.28.00 AMIt is both ironic and a privilege that I would have the opportunity to review Women Count: a Guide to Changing the World by Susan Bulkeley Butler and attend Jill's Konrath's Sales Shebang meeting in Chicago in the same week.

Women Count is a book that's part women's history lesson and part "let's get to work," inspiration. Younger women will be stunned at what we seasoned types have literally worked through these past decades. Those of us on the far end of the work-life-cycle, with scars of self-preservation to prove it, will appreciate the reminder of how far we have come. Conversely, the younger crowd will be able to read and jumpstart their careers. 

Susan, who also wrote Become the CEO of You, Inc., makes her second book personal by including her own experiences as she rose through the business ranks to become the first women partner at the company that became Accenture. Her life anchors the book which highlights the work of many female benchmark setters. 

Once the history lesson is captured, she then switches her focus on what women have left to do to let their values and their ideas become the norm instead of the afterthought. To underscore the unbalance she reminds us that only 3% of the Fortune 500 have women CEOs and yet 50% of the population is made up of women. That shouldn't matter if men and women made decisions the same way, but we don't, if we did there would be no need for women's groups to be forming by the thousands. Clearly we get something from business relationships with each other that we cannot get in a mixed crowd--for example, the Sales SheBang meeting is an all women event.

Perhaps the most useful part of the book comes at the end where Susan addresses how to put a plan of action together. She has seen many great ideas die without this critical first step accomplished. 

If you're at a crossroads in your life and need a shot of pride in your past along with pragmatic next steps, Women Count will help you change your own world first. 

August 09, 2010

Why Great Teachers Quit

Screen shot 2010-08-09 at 6.59.16 AMA few years back, a friend of mine was griping about how easy teachers have it and how only the bad ones stay to teach. I was stunned. Could she possible be serious? Or maybe she just didn't have any teachers for friends. "They always cut out at the end of the day as fast as they can," she said. "They're probably heading to their second job," was my reply. Her solution was to gather with her other mom friends and pray that God would find an answer--He did, many years later in Katy Farber who decided to shine a big light on the issues and the solutions. Rather than wait for an answer on high, Katy researched the frustrations and offers them back in a concise summation of facts, failings and successes.

Her book, Why Great Teachers Quit and How We Might Stop the Exodus lists off the usual suspects:

  • Standardized testing.
  • Working conditions.
  • Ever-higher expectations.
  • Bureaucracy.
  • Respect and Compensation.
  • Parents, Administrators and School Boards.

She then offers resources and solutions culled from interviews with 70 teachers across the nation. Their stories echo the frustration this profession generates. The issues raised are not new, but by having them all in one book it allows each participating member to see things from the other's perspective. As the adage goes, "Awareness is the first step..."

Why Great Teachers Quit is an essential workbook and reminder of how pervasive the problems are and what simple steps could be taken to reverse the brain drain. Each school system has it within their ability to retain the top influencers on the next generation; Katy's book can turn the he said/she said battles into "We did it together" solutions. 

Thank you Katy for changing our world and keeping the best teachers in place and our kids safe at home