Years ago at a yard sale I found a nesting doll that was on sale because the smaller nesting dolls that went inside her were gone. Only the largest one of the set remained, a cheerful looking figure in a red scarf and a green decorative dress. I bought her, not because of her cheerful face but because of the tiny figure painted on the front of her dress. It suggested to me the inner woman, the potential that resides inside all women.
Women make up one half of the human population and stored inside their minds and spirits lies a vast reservoir of intelligence and creativity. And yet many countries don’t want to take advantage of this rich potential. Cultures that keep women uneducated and without power lose this important source of medical advances, technological inventions and better ways of interacting with the world. If those short-sighted leaders would let their women be truly who they are capable of being, the entire world and their country in particular would benefit on many levels.
There have been matriarchal societies in the past. Today, the pendulum has swung to patriarchal structures. We need a blending of the two where men and women are partners, co-workers, in the effort to support a country and build a life. We need a structure where gender, race and sexual orientation are scarcely acknowledged facets of a human’s identity. Almost all peoples world wide are striving for the same goals of safety, security, health, and family.
In looking at my writing, I find that the underlying theme through all of my stories is the growth and evolution of the female protagonist. Marian in AN ACCEPTABLE VENGEANCE survives the dreadful and shocking loss of her husband and son and finds her own life and her own purpose. Biannie, my Vietnamese/American heroine in TORMENTING THE TIGER survives spousal abuse and finds for herself a new and more satisfying life. Vela in GABRIELLA’S DAUGHTER also finds her way into her true role. Even in my lighter stories, THE CAYMAN CAPER, and MY YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, the story arc follows the growth of my heroines. Joanna, in my current work in progress, ONE SUMMER, is a female photojournalist who has seen too much but who in the end will find her healing and her humanity.
So my yard sale find sits on the ledge of the window in my office with the blue and white Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance. She reminds me of the inner strength and the wonderful potential of women all over the world. She reminds me that here in the United States we are blessed with education, with career opportunities and with other women role models who are blazing a path for those who come behind them. Soon, hopefully, women will be paid on the same level as men when they perform the same jobs.
I haven’t found a male nesting doll to remind me of the other half of the population. Men deserve equal time and equal respect just as women do.
Maybe next year.