Oh, the words that are racing through our minds this week. Disappointed. Disheartened. And, simply, dissed.
Three years ago, we started FPI with enthusiasm and, more importantly, conviction. We not only saw the challenges that women everywhere face – of being heard, of being respected, of being recognized, but we faced them ourselves. Women in foreign policy don’t have it easy.
Still, as the daughters of blue collar working class families who taught us the power of hard work, we believed we could help change this reality. We believed that we could help tackle the barriers, the stereotypes, and mindsets that hold women back from being called upon as sources, quoted in articles, appearing on panels or on op-ed pages. We still do.
Our approach has always been to work with everyone and never to blame or point fingers. Love, not hate. And laughter, above all else.
But what happened on Tuesday was not at all funny.
There has been and will continue to be various explanations for Trump’s victory. The one we want to focus on is the continued bias against women – unconscious and otherwise.
We continue to live in a world where institutions (and, thereby, mindsets) favor men – mainly because they continue to be dominated by men. Academia, C-suite positions, politics, think tanks, startups, law, finance, journalism, venture capital – men dominate them all.
Meanwhile, women are under represented at every level. And when they are represented, they are scrutinized and demonized. They are called ugly. Whores. Imposters. They are threatened with rape, assault, and death. There is resentment and, worse, revulsion toward women with ambition. It is no mystery why there’s a confidence gap. It’s no wonder why women hold themselves to a higher threshold of certainty before they speak up and lean in.
Because men dominate, we seek male approval. We seek male opinions. We seek male guidance. Worse, we simply accept male flaws and dismiss their transgressions. We tolerate their ignorance. We draw false equivalencies between minor blunders and fascist worldviews.
Earlier this year, we sat down with someone from a leading think tank to talk about our work. “This is not my issue,” he told us. “We don’t have a problem here… and, frankly, I don’t see what the problem is – the last three secretaries of state were women.”
Indeed, the United States has had three female secretaries of state. That’s a sign of progress, but it not change. Change is when we engage women because they are not some box to be checked, but because they’re an indispensable part of every issue and their participation leads to better outcomes and solutions.
More than ever, we are committed to our mission to interrupt the institutions and mindsets that have held women back and behind. You should be too. FPI is ultimately about who gets to narrate the world for us – who shapes our worldviews.
While today’s world is no doubt safer and more prosperous, it is also, amid globalization, hyper connectivity, and technological advancement, more fragile and unpredictable. Hacking has joined nuclear warheads as serious threats. Climate change and global health pandemics threaten communities and livelihoods. Extremism threatens us across the board.
Today’s foreign policy challenges are not trivial, nor can they be resolved in one way or by one man. The scale and scope of today’s world requires all hands on deck. We are losing time.
Today, we’re calling for applications for our fourth fellowship cycle. If you’re a female foreign policy expert, we encourage you to apply. You can learn more about our premier program here.
We’re all about democratizing power. From our fellowship program to our weekly newsletter, all of FPI’s services are free of charge. It’s a labor of love that takes us hundreds of hours and dollars to sustain. Tuesday showed us that we need to keep pushing forward, and more importantly, wide. It’s time to scale up our movement. We cannot do it alone and without support. We need you.
- Please consider donating to our ad-free newsletter below
- If you’re interested in sponsoring a fellow, contact us
- Want to donate some space for an FPI event or host one? Holler.
- Want to volunteer some random talents and skillz? Beatboxing, GIF making, capoeira… we’re all ears.
How we think about, engage with, and talk to and about women, matters. It doesn’t just matter for our mothers, sisters, and daughters. It matters for our fathers, brothers, and sons. It matters for humanity. It matters for our future.
Lauren & Elmira