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book No Excuses (released October 2010). Nearly a year on, No Excuses rests on comfortable laurels: impeccable stamps of approval from leading female voices, from feminist matriarch Gloria Steinhem who described it as ‘the coach young women need’ to Jane Fonda, who claims it has the ‘power to change your life’. They are right. It’s a must-read for any woman who’d like to learn new tools to teach her exactly how to claim her own power.


We live in a time of modern-day female action, that sees women today paradoxically faced with more choice, freedom and power than ever before. And yet are paid less than men (still). Are near-invisible in many top boardroom positions (still): in the States alone, women represent only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs. Worse, violence against women is critical (still). And yet, the world has seen so many leaps forward. Wom- en are embracing opportunities and roles that have traditionally been barred to them for centuries. Laws have been changed. Votes have been given. Young girls increasingly grow up with a sense they can do anything. So why the contradiction?


‘Changing laws isn’t easy, but changing the culture and individual behaviour is infinitely more difficult’, writes Feldt. ‘That’s part we have to do for ourselves’.


As if on queue, this Summer alone has seen a bril- liant rash of female-led international protest against rape and sexual assault - Slut Walks - that have seen


We live in a time of modern-day female action, that sees women today paradoxically faced with more choice, freedom and power than ever before.


women stalking the streets to take back their right to dress how they want, without fear; waving placards declaring ‘feminism back by popular demand’. This real sense of a charged anger, renewed strength and immense power in the contemporary women’s move-


“Women are at an amazing moment; … the doors are open but women aren’t walking


through them in numbers and with intention sufficient.”


ment feels more reminiscent of 1971 than 2011. Though this vigorous lashing out at oppressive social structures that are still trying to keep women firmly in their place is hardly nostalgic. It’s happening because - despite years of emancipation - those structures are still at annoyingly at large.


No excuse, says Gloria Feldt. No excuse to let it get you down, deny your power, opt out and take the backseat. Feeling angst about it? Then don’t just whine, gain inspiration from those Slutwalkers and start your own movement. Feldt claims we aren’t do- ing it enough – but that doesn’t mean we can’t. ‘Wom- en are at an amazing moment; … the doors are open but women aren’t walking through them in numbers and with intention sufficient’ (well, maybe not last Oc- tober). Women have been slow on the uptake because the old paradigm of power we have been used to is defined by a pre-dominantly Western, male set of val- ues – what Feldt describes as ‘power over’ others – that alienates many women from even bothering. So boycott power? No – change it, asserts Feldt. ‘By re- defining power not as power-over but as power-to, we shift from a culture of oppression to a culture of lead- ership to make things better for everyone’. But don’t just talk about it for heaven’s sakes: take it. Then have a laugh about how ridiculous it is that women are still pandering to skittish second-best behaviour.


‘This is a dream we can make come true. The resourc- es we need to stop resisting power and start using our estimable power-to for good are in our hands’, writes Feldt.


But girls, the Playboy bunny ears really are optional. 8 INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN MAGAZINE


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