The MATRIARCHITECTS: An Origin Story

 

THE MATRIARCHITECTS began as a spark of an idea.

In a recent newsletter, author of Playing Big Tara Mohr quoted MIT Lecturer and author Otto Scharmer who wrote: “The future arrives first as a feeling…”

That is how THE MATRIARCHITECTS arrived.

In Spring 2016, I found myself in constant conversation with friends and colleagues about a collective desire to see women’s voices more front and center in conversation, about the need for more women in leadership positions, and about the role that toxic masculinity and patriarchal structures play in limiting people of all genders. Many of my women friends and I expressed our anger at the ways in which our lives and the lives of other women we knew had been limited by societal expectations, by daily trauma, by harassment and assault we experienced, by the constant emotional labor we had been asked to perform simply because we were women.

I also found myself emotionally razed by stories that pointed to oppressive structures in every system. In constantly witnessing the punishing and marginalizing of people over and over again, I found it hard to not feel overwhelmed.

At the same time, I looked around at my community and circles of connection and saw people doing radical, transformative work on a grassroots level to build a culture that respects, values, and celebrates women and that makes the world a better place for people of all genders. Whenever I encountered these stories, I felt uplifted and inspired and called once more to use my skills and passions to be part of positive change. I knew I needed more of these stories, and I knew I must not be the only one.

A few years earlier, through my work as a journalist, I became aware of a movement in storytelling called “Solutions Journalism.” In Solutions Journalism pieces, journalists focus not only on the problems at hand but the work people are doing to create change. The Solutions Journalism Network defines it as “rigorous and compelling reporting about responses to social problems.”

I believe strongly that the way we tell stories matters, that whose voices are telling the stories matters. I believe that when we are given examples of what individuals and communities have made possible in seemingly-impossible situations, we begin to see possibilities in our own lives and communities. Because it is hard to imagine outside of what we have been told and shown, how can we grow our examples of people who have done the work of deep imagining and then brought their visions to fruition?

The MATRIARCHITECTS’ mission is to do just this.

We want to highlight the change-makers and visionaries architecting structures for a better future, we want to build bridges between people doing this inspiring work, and, through conversation and storytelling, we want to write our way into what is possible: a world where women are respected, valued, and celebrated, a world where people of all genders can live their fullest, most purposeful lives.

Further, we hope that in providing narratives and models of what people are doing in their own discipline and their own community, those listening can be made aware and translate those ambitions and practices to their own lives and work. And that those listening who are invested in the same issues can understand what is already being done and connect with people doing similar work.

The tour for The MATRIARCHITECTS is part of this mission. By traveling through communities and connecting with people doing transformative work, we reveal the people actively engaged in working for change. By listening and then bringing these stories to you, we, all of us, become part of a larger community, one that cares about building a culture that values women, one where people of all genders can thrive.

Thank you for coming on this journey with us. Let’s build together!