Election season is in full swing, and people are taking stock of what the priorities of political parties are and what we believe they should be. As young women in STEM there are likely many issues and agendas to juggle, like sustainability, diversity and representation. Being a student or recent graduate also complicates matters, and choosing what to stand and vote for is a serious challenge. One thing is certain: Our identities influence our standing in the world, and can therefore form a basis for our viewpoint. Read how other women take a stand for what they believe in and explore what is closest to your heart, your ideals and your plans for the future.
Although political leaders do not always have their finances or priorities straight, we can ensure that we do: In February we had an informative, interactive event with Liesbeth Rutgers and Martien van Winden alll about financial planning. In case you could not be there, check out
New events are in the works, so stay tuned for what spring has to bring.
A new Framework for Diversity : Belonging, Justice and Dignity
No modern workplace, or politician for that matter, can fail to acknowledge the fact that we live in a diverse society, and that we should create a safe, welcoming space for everyone. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why current measures do not live up to their promises. Too often, diversity trainings only bring problems to light without solving them, or are too shallow to bring about significant long-term change in social dynamics in a group. by the World Economic Forum explains how to move away from ineffective, shallow performative action to committed programs that create a more connected and welcoming workplace. The key? Belonging, Justice and Dignity.
In the end, the goal of proposing change should be actual change, and the first step towards achieving this is taking serious action and committing to your promises. Dignity, one of the proposed pillars to support diversity, certainly seems to be high on the agenda for Jacinda Ardern: that the New Zealand government will provide free sanitary products for all schools from June onwards, combating period poverty and encouraging school attendance. Only a woman can experience the discomfort of not having sanitary products on hand, and can therefore imagine the plight of not being able to afford to buy any. This decision not only preserves women’s dignity and freedom, but also demonstrates how uniting your identity and your politics can bring about powerful change. This is the very reason it is crucial to have people of various identities in power who are not afraid to stand up for the rights of the groups they belong to.
The Essence of Creating Change: Getting People to Care
Acting from your own wordlview is one thing, but convincing others to join in your pursuits is a different story altogether. According to economist Angela Francis, you should try to connect how the pursuit of one goal can help accomplish another: Talk to people about the things they care about, not the things you care about. In her , she explains how politicians do exactly that and don’t put sustainability at the top of their agendas because they think people care more about other things, like the economy, housing, pay etc. But investing in a more sustainable future through better insulated housing, for instance, cuts costs for everyone, and governments should ensure that the benefits of a greener econonmy should go to those in need first. In Angela’s words: ” My superpower is not trying to add to the list of things that people care about, but showing how the plan for a green economy is a plan to improve lives right now”.
The list of important political issues seems to grow ever longer indeed, but thankfully they are all interconnected in some way. Inclusivity breeds productivity, belonging brings forth wellbeing, and community action drives change and creates hope. What are the needs of your community, and how would you like your future to look? Although it can feel strange to think about political issues outside of the pandemic, we shoud take a long-term perspective and use the current situation as a looking glass. It enlarges hidden issues and exposes which groups are not represented or supported well in times of crisis. While the looking glass provides detail and clarity, we hope to provide community and wider exploration. What would you like to explore with the Librae Network?
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All the best ,
The Librae Team