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February 22, 2011

Day 10 of 30: Asking for a better future

Friday morning I had a phone conference with Vickie Pynchon and Lisa Gates, the life forces behind She Negotiates. We've been talking about ways we can collaborate, and one idea we came up with was A National Day of Asking.

Imagine if every year, for one day, women decided to ask for something important to them. Imagine that they not only ask, but have the tools, information and strategies to make the request effective.

Imagine that billboards, bus stop ads, TV commercials and a viral online campaign raised awareness among the women who don't know how to ask for what they need, or that it's even an option.

Ask their bosses.
Ask their husbands.
Ask their doctors.
Ask their neighbors.
Ask their children.

For help.
For access.
For information.
For opportunities.
For fair pay.

Imagine we could somehow reach the women who don't have laptops and internet connections, who have 4 kids to care for and are exhausted and such hard workers. What would it take to prompt them to think about these issues. To act?

What if we made it a Global Day of Asking?

Imagine that around the world somehow -- but how? -- women got the courage to ask, for one precious day, for what was most precious to them.

Imagine that they could ask  -- what a dream -- safely, without fearing for their lives.

Imagine that in the direst situations, they do not ask, but demand.






Addis Ababa.

The issues will certainly be different, but common in in the core message: "Hear my voice. I have something to ask of you. This is what it is."

How can we work together to stop the car thefts in our neighborhood?
Would you mind critiquing my resume?
Please let me stay in school?
Put a well in our village?
Can you give me a 20 percent raise?
I will not give you my passport.
I will not get in the car when you've been drinking.
I will not allow you to do that to her, ever again.

Just writing these words, I comprehend I can't comprehend the obstacles. Traditions, threats, violence, gaps in finance and education. But then I think about Egypt -- the ultimate ask: regime change -- and the writings of Nicholas Kristoff, and the book that set off a powerful chain reaction in my world, Women Don't Ask.

We can do this.

To make this happen, we'll need resources. Money. Access to important, connected, powerful, dedicated and influential people.




Bill and Melinda Gates.

Lady Gaga.

Larry Page.

Angelina Jolie.

Katie Couric.

Carla Bruni.
Rachel Ray.

After the conversation, we each tweeted a big request: Can anyone put us in touch with any movers and shakers?

Today, Vickie heard back from Gloria Feldt, author of the must-read No Excuses, that she'll try to connect us to Mr. Kristoff.

What about you, gentle reader? Those of you reading this blog regularly or stumbling across it by searching for 'salary negotiation' or 'talk down cable bill' online (two common routes into my blog) are already victors. Congratulations for thinking about these issues. For being here.

Is there some way we could work together to help the others? If you're interested, or if you have any resources or ideas, I would love to hear from you. 

Gained: Planted a seed
Lost: Not a thing. I just feel like I'm losing time, not acting this instant. But such an endeavor will take months of hard work.

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