In my fifties, I began to worry more about the world. Most of my post-fifty, female friends were similarly affected. I think this new concern was partially age-related, as if my biological clock was resetting itself for grandchildren and I was disturbed about what sort of place it would be for them. My developmental clock was resetting itself, too, demanding to know what I planned on leaving behind. Not to mention, at fifty it seemed like every dormant potential in me wanted to wake up, like I’d gotten intimations of being untethered at long last, of power and audacity bubbling furiously on my two back burners... which is around the time I started thinking: Hmmm, I do believe women can save the world.
Then again, I doubt the whole thing is about age. Maybe there just comes a time when you’re seized by tenderness for the world. When you decide, okay, I’m not going to retreat into indifference and cynicism, I’m going to do something.
What do women want? Well, thinking as big as I can, I’m going to say it: We want to change the world. We want to do something about the mess we’re in. God knows, we’ve been cleaning up messes forever. I’m not really suggesting we want to be the saviors of the world, but I am suggesting we will get nowhere in this endeavor without the massive involvement of women.
I’m saying, we want to perpetuate a womanly conversation about change, how most of these ills probably go back to a breakdown of community, to our inability to truly belong to the family of Earth with all the mutual care that implies. We want empathy to be an indispensable ethic. We want the wisdom of the heart practiced in institutions of power right alongside intellect. We want to become more audible and visible in the world on behalf of the earth, and children, and every hurt, excluded, suffering, and forgotten creature. We want to flex our big feminine presence.
Sue Monk Kidd was a speaker at The Women's Conference 2009.