Tabby Biddle has written a book that has been called a ‘practical, courageous and urgent call to action’ for women of all ages. Titled Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action, the book shows women how to find their purpose, develop their political voice and step into leadership. It was released in paperback on April 30th, and is available for sale on Amazon. We asked Tabby a few questions about her work via email.
Why is it more important than ever for women to find their voice now?
Women face discrimination and gender-based violence the world over, and it is time for this to stop. One out of five of us will be raped or be a victim of attempted rape in our lifetime, according to a report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One out of three of us will be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused by an intimate partner. We are the majority of the world’s poor, are two-thirds of the illiterate population, and own just one percent of the land worldwide. Most of this is happening because women’s knowledge, wisdom and opinions are underrepresented around the world.
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In every country and in every industry, women are undervalued, underpaid and often completely missing from positions of power and authority. In the U.S. for example, women represent only 19 percent of the voices in Congress, are only 10 percent of governors, and, in the nation’s largest cities, only 13 percent of the mayors. Globally, women represent just one in every five parliamentarians. This is a big problem for us personally and for the world.
” In every country and in every industry, women are undervalued, underpaid and often completely missing from positions of power and authority.
On the personal level, our voices are absent in addressing the issues that most affect our lives and the lives of our children. This translates into laws, public policy, and resource distribution that don’t accurately reflect the truth of our lives, and therefore don’t support us. This keeps us in an inferior position.
Globally, I believe that the absence of our voices perpetuates the cycles of war, poverty, violence and oppression. Without women’s wisdom at the table, aggression, competition, and power over, rather than power with remain the name of the game. But we as women know this is not a natural way of living. It’s through our voices that we have the power to change this.
When you say ‘find your voice,’ do you mean artistically, politically, or do you mean some sort of personal expression?
I mean all of these. They are all connected. I believe that in order to be politically effective, a woman first needs to find her personal, authentic voice. What does she stand for? What does she care about? What does she want to change in the world? What is her greater vision?
” In order to be politically effective, a woman first needs to find her personal, authentic voice.
For some women, they will need to take an artistic path to find out these answers. Through writing, singing, dancing, poetry, painting, spoken word … you name it. I have found that a woman’s artistry can be the key to unlocking her voice. Since so many women of today grew up in a patriarchal culture that taught them that their voice was not as important or valuable as men’s or boy’s, and that it was better to keep their opinions to themselves, be a “good girl” and remain silent, their authentic voices got lost, even to themselves.
Many women I have worked with have told me stories of being belittled or mocked for their creative expressions as young girls and therefore have carried a lifetime of shame around their voice and self-expression. They also learned to not trust their creative impulses, which is a definite hindrance when it comes to finding and knowing your voice.
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What I have come to realize through my work with women is that her ability to find her political voice and take action on it is thwarted if she cannot creatively express herself. This is because it tends to be her creative expression that is the doorway into her soul’s greater purpose. When a woman starts to reawaken her expressive self, she unlocks the door to her unique expression as an activist.
Hillary Clinton has declared her candidacy for the U.S. Presidency, potentially inspiring women everywhere to find their voice. What’s next for women who may be feeling the call to speak out about gender discrimination, the wage gap, or in the U.S., ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment? What, in your view, is the best way for a woman to express her political voice?
I think there are many ways for women to express their political voice, depending on their inclinations, gifts and talents. With that said, I think becoming a blogger is one of the quickest and most accessible ways to get off the sidelines and create change.
While male voices dominate mainstream media and key thought leader forums, blogging is a whole different story. This is where, because there is no gatekeeper, women can challenge the status quo, can shift the conversation, and can move the needle on most any social issue.
Here in the U.S., for example, there is a group of women bloggers who call themselves MomsRising. They are using the blog format to speak out about things like paid maternity and paternity leave, equal pay, flexible work schedules, healthcare, affordable childcare, early childhood education, and gun safety. By building their membership from just a handful a women, to now over one million members, they have played a key role in advancing economic justice policies for women and families in the U.S. This includes passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, winning protections for pregnant workers in Maryland, winning the passage of paid family leave in Rhode Island, updating the federal nutrition standards for child care centers, and protecting key early childhood programs like Head Start.
Does that mean that you have to run for office, or are there other ways to express your political voice?
Having a political voice does not mean you need to run for office. But you certainly could. If this is your bailiwick, go for it. We need you. On the other hand, if running for office is not on your dharma path, there is still a lot you can do.
Having a political voice means using your voice anywhere you are in a way that represents what you believe in, what you value, and what you stand for. Remember the catchphrase of the women’s movement of the late 1960s and early 70s, the personal is political? There’s a good reason for it. The changes that you want in your personal life are political. Your relationships, your role in the workplace, your income, your role in marriage, your feelings on motherhood, your feelings about your sexuality, and your personal safety are inseparable from the larger social and political structures that exist.
” Having a political voice means using your voice anywhere you are in a way that represents what you believe in, what you value, and what you stand for.
But right now, so many women’s political voices are silenced because too many of us don’t think we even have one. Since the prevailing voices in the public spotlight are predominantly men, stepping into the spotlight with the truth of who you are and what you stand for as a woman is political change.
A woman can express her political voice through writing, speaking, blogging, dance, movement, song, music, spoken word, painting, poetry, storytelling, performance art, videos, filmmaking, mothering, a leadership position and so much more.
When you express your truth as a woman, in whatever expressive form, you not only liberate your own self, but you open up the door for other women to express their truth as well. And as this happens, we start shifting the tides of society. The ripple effect is set in motion and what’s out there in the public consciousness changes.
This is feminine activism. When women embody their feminine authority and speak their truth, this re-orientation inherently shifts the status quo, and is social and political change.
Summarising, could you please share three takeaways, three things that our readers could do or implement starting from today to better express their voice. What should be our action list for today, next month, next year?
The first thing I recommend is starting up a morning journaling practice, if you don’t already have one. Journaling is one of the best ways to unleash your inner voice and listen to what She has to say. By giving Her some unedited time in your journal every day, you let your voice know that she is important and that you care about what she has to say. This will do wonders for you being able to “find your voice” and go out there in the world and use it. When you write, let it be a stream-of-consciousness. Just let your pen flow. No editing along the way. You want to “un-silence” your voice and not restrict her in any way. Try writing for 10 minutes every morning for one week and see what you discover. Give yourself writing prompts. One morning ask yourself: What do I see happening around me that feels unjust? Another morning ask yourself: What is the change I want to see in the world? Another morning ask yourself: Who are the people I want to help and why?
The second thing I recommend is making a Creative Expression date with yourself, weekly. Commit to this for one month. Mark out 30 minutes in your calendar each week to engage in some form of creative expression. How do you most naturally express yourself? What is fun and liberating for you? Singing, dancing, poetry, spoken word, painting, photography, drumming or some other form of creative expression? If you are not sure, check in with yourself: What did you love to do as a 9 year-old? This is probably a good indicator for you to follow. Whatever your form of creative expression is, commit to this time as a sacred date with your feminine soul. Allow the art form to be a container for your feminine soul to be expressed. Combined with journaling, this will unlock more and more of your voice.
Finally, I would recommend doing some type of embodiment practice at least twice a week, for a month. For this embodiment practice, it should be something that will connect you with your hips and womb, which are powerful storehouses of your feminine wisdom and power. Some good options would be yoga, dancing or simple stretching. I also have a good number of guided embodiment practices in my book. Connecting with your body in this way will help you more easily access your wisdom and intuition, which are both very important ingredients for finding and expressing your authentic voice in the world.
Once you get these practices into your daily and weekly routine, you will have more trust and confidence in yourself and your voice. In my experience, the next steps to express yourself will reveal themselves to you. Your inner guidance will tell you what to do next year.
For more information about Tabby, visit tabbybiddle.com.
Find Your Voice: A Woman’s Call to Action is available on Amazon.