International Women's Day Is Not for Shout-outs

Yesterday was March 8, 2021. I looked at my LinkedIn newsfeed and saw lots of posts thanking women - professionals who shared their gratitude for the women who have mentored them, who work with them, who work for them. 

And my reaction? 

Frustration.

Anger. 

Annoyance.

I remember when International Women's Day was for feminist policy wonks who cared about equitable development around the world, equal pay for all women, and human rights. The slogans heard at gatherings to recognize the day were not about gratitude but about human rights - and the deep, intense need to have all humans' rights recognized, no matter their sex or gender. 

It's not exactly a bad thing, of course, for International Women's Day to be a household phrase - if it even has achieved that. But we lose something when a day originally designed to bring together people fighting for human rights becomes "Thank a Woman!" day.

International Women's Day was a thing long...

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Mediation: Voluntary Really Means Voluntary

Mediation is a voluntary process for parties and mediators. Yes, you read that right. Mediators have an ethical responsibility to ensure all parties feel equally able to negotiate, and the parties do so in good faith. If a mediator has any doubt, they ought to end the mediation.

You may be thinking “But I’m paying you!” Yes, you are. You’re paying for the services of a mediation session (or sessions). As a trained professional mediator, my expertise includes paying attention to the parties and their ability to represent themselves in the process and negotiate on equal (or near-equal) footing. My expertise also includes making ethical determinations about whether the parties are operating in good faith.

The flip side of this is that any time a party feels uncomfortable, they have the right to end the mediation as well. Of course, feeling uncomfortable can happen for a great variety of reasons, and mediators will try to feel you out – usually one-on-one...

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Mediate. Facilitate. Vote.

core beliefs voting Nov 03, 2018

I believe in the power of story-telling and listening. Stories are a natural, influential way to communicate. Of course, when stories are not listened to - not paid attention to - not understood, they lose their power. Listening with an open mind is a necessary partner to story-telling.

I also believe in a representative democracy, like the United States where we’re based and where I have always lived. An essential building block of representative democracies is that the best policies are created when everyone has a say in who leads the government.

Politics is an essential part of governing, because of the nature of our democratic society. If politics is all about elections, then it’s all about who is in charge of every law and regulation, from Social Security to the presence of a stop sign on your corner.

In both mediation and facilitation, listening is a core component to success - and a necessary input toward a resolution. In our society, voting is the main way...

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