Queer Ecology: Why Female Birds Couldn’t Sing Until Recently

Queer Ecology: Why Female Birds Couldn’t Sing Until Recently

The Patriarchal Hush of Female Birds & How Queer Ecology Can Help

Did you know that female birds couldn’t sing? Scientific observation gives us facts and from those facts we build reality, and in this reality, only male birds produce song. That is, until the past two decades when female scientists began to also study birdsong. 

Wait, what? 

That’s right. 

The Complexity of Female Beings is Not Abnormal

For more than 150 years, dating back to Charles Darwin’s writings on sexual selection, scientists generally considered birdsong to be a male trait. According to widely accepted scientific perspectives, bird’s songs were complex vocalizations that male birds produce during breeding season. Female vocalizations were rare or abnormal. 

Were.

Female vocalizations were rare or abnormal. Except they weren’t abnormal at all. Female birds could, in fact, sing and had always been singing, long before the colonization of science. Female birds were always capable of complex vocalizations along with their complex male counterparts.

They just couldn’t be heard over the patriarchy. 

In the past two decades, scientists began to “discover” female bird songs. In a recently published study analyzing the research itself, data shows that the key people driving this recent paradigm shift were women.

Traditionally, white men working in countries of the northern hemisphere have conducted much of the research on birdsong. 

Traditionally, white men have led research on many topics. That is because white men and the systems that benefit them have excluded women, BIPOC, queer, and pretty much anyone from the global south from the educational opportunities and professions that do this research–until recently when systemic conditions have improved. Slightly. For some.  It’s still not equal, of course. We (and it’s a giant we) have been excluded from producing cultural knowledge. 

Is it any wonder that female birds lost their songs just as women have been denied our voices for so many generations? Any wonder that female beings of all species seem quiet and simple, vessels for procreation, objects for the use and pleasure of the male species? Perhaps the comparison is a stretch, but I think not. I happen to think that females and males and every other expression of sex or gender is equally and differently complex and beautiful.

We Are All Biased

Science is meant to be objective. Observations, tests and results. However, we also know from the science of quantum physics, that the observer, by observing, tends to affect the outcome of the experiment.

I know I am not the first to point out that science is neither unbiased or objective. Research and observation is seen and reported through the lens of the observer. If the lens through which observation is made is only open so far, the possibilities for observation are limited to that lens’s aperture. 

Men, especially white men, have predominantly done research and controlled the production of knowledge in regards to bird song (specifically birdsong in this article, also knowledge in general).

Is Binary Killing Beauty? 

So if the people who do the observations already carry a herteronormative, binary belief system, then that will be the lens through which they will make observations. That will be the world they see and the world they report to others on. 

This is one fascinating example of how patriarchal and colonial domination has not only oppressed women and others, but is literally robbing the human world of a range of knowledge, or suppressing knowledge that previously existed. Or both. I would imagine that knowledge of various indigenous cultures includes female birdsong and lots of other beautiful things that white supremecist patriarchy has suppressed.

What other information are we lacking about our world because so many of us haven’t had access to professions that observe and create knowledge?

Just imagine. Imagine what other songs are out there. Imagine what else is waiting to be discovered, not just by female scientists, but all kinds of humans who observe through the lenses of different intersecting identities and bring varied lived experiences to their observation. And imagine a kaleidoscope.

We construct our reality through words, language, story, and media. Women and basically everyone else except white men have largely been left out of the production of knowledge and therefore, the creation of reality, to the point that we literally believed female birds to be silent. What other beautiful aspects of life are happening out there, waiting to be heard, seen, touched, felt? What more is there to discover that hasn’t been observed through limited hetereonormative white lenses?

queer ecology, female birdsong

Bring On Queer Ecology

There is an entire field of knowledge blossoming called queer ecology, which combines queer theory and environmental studies with the goal of diversifying our narratives of the natural world–and I can’t wait to see where it takes us. I can’t wait to learn what knowledge exists outside of the binary. My hypothesis? The world will become much more fascinating. 

As much as I am continually frustrated by the injustice of patriarchy and colonialism, I am equally excited for what awaits us on the other side. Excited about the beauty of the world we haven’t tapped into yet, but that is existing there, waiting for the right eyes to see it.

What a beautiful world it will be when we are finally able to see it through many different eyes. What a beautiful world it is already, filled with songs and dances of so many species, dancing right alongside our own species. 

How much more beauty is there in the world that are we capable of observing? How much more beauty can we see and process? Can we feel?

I think the answer is infinite. We can experience infinite beauty. All we have to do is learn to view it through as many lenses as possible.


Perhaps you feel called to share your infinitely beautiful creations with the world too? Join us today in adding more nonbinary, decolonized, patriarchy-smashing knowledge and wonder.

amy schmidt

Amy Schmidt is the CEO and founder of Medusa Media Collective. She is an editor, writer and teacher. She also teaches yoga, leadership, and empowerment self-defense for women. Her goal in writing is connection through empathy, and her passion is working to end gender-based violence. She likes her humor dry and her fruit juicy. 

The Greatest (Male) Thinkers: What Were They Thinking, Actually?

The Greatest (Male) Thinkers: What Were They Thinking, Actually?

Digging Into Philosophy and Coming Up Short On Women

I remember quite clearly the first time I started to question why there were so few women in philosophy – both in the canon (a collection of texts viewed as authoritative in a subject) and in the field itself. I was a junior in my undergraduate program reading Aristotle’s Politics when I came across a little passage on the differences between men and women. 

“As between the sexes, the male is by nature superior and the female inferior, the male ruler and the female subject.” –Aristotle

The professor with whom I was reading the text, good-hearted and reflective, informed us that this was hardly the only misogynistic passage in Aristotle’s work. Elsewhere, he would call us incomplete men. He often referred to us as passive. He even tried to use the fact that women have fewer teeth than men as evidence of his claims. My professor gave us the space to reflect on why it might be that Aristotle believed such things. We asked what effect this would have on his system of thought.

Why Weren’t Women Included In Philosophy?

Of course, it was already painfully apparent that there weren’t many women in philosophy or female philosophers. A couple slipped through the academic cracks, but they were few and far between. I had previously assumed the reason for this was because the ‘powers that be’ denied women the chance to become philosophers. Society as a whole prevented women from entering academia, of course. I had not considered that philosophy itself had much to do with this exclusion. Would the field of philosophy purposefully close its doors to women? I certainly didn’t think that philosophy might be a large part of the reason why women were viewed as subordinate in the first place. But, believe it or not, reading Aristotle ironically set off the curious philosopher in me. I began to wonder just how deep the philosophical rabbit hole of misogyny was.

It does not take much digging to find thought in the canon in the same vein as Aristotle. In fact, some of the most explicitly misogynistic thought in history can be found in philosophy. Augustine, Kant, Hegel, Nietzsche – all philosophers still widely read in philosophy classes today – express deeply problematic views about women. What is so nefarious about thought in this tradition is that it undermines the very belief in women as fully human, and it is still profoundly influential. And philosophy, unlike other forms of thought, is in the very business of justifying what it believes. As such, the canon offers up arguments for why it is the case that women are inferior to men. For example, many arguments state that we cannot think as well as men. 

Hegel proclaims that, “Women are capable of education, but they are not made for activities which demand a universal faculty such as the more advanced sciences, philosophy and certain forms of artistic production… women regulate their actions not by the demands of universality, but by arbitrary inclinations and opinions.”

Women In Philosophy: Just a Bunch of Bodies

Additionally, women are understood as tied to nature and incapable of transcending the body into a higher realm of thought. This crumb of Cartesian and Christian thought maintains that the body is inferior, a prison that leads only to temptation and living poorly. Women are seductresses who tempt men with their bodies and trap them into a less virtuous way of living. 

“What is the difference whether it is in a wife or a mother,’ asks Augustine, “it is still Eve the temptress that we must beware of in any woman. . . I fail to see what use woman can be to man, if one excludes the function of bearing children.”

Ouch. The classic “women are useless except as baby-making vessels” belief.

Such harmful thought exists everywhere in my academic home. Obviously, however, I never believed such nonsense. The women I know and love prove that we are deeply rational, capable of anything and more than what male philosophers describe as our limits. 

But I cannot help but wonder what philosophy would be if men – and women – had not believed about us for so long. 

Where Are We Now?

Philosophy plays such a strong role in what we believe about the world. We all have ideas about what the world is like and how it should be. We find different answers to these questions all over the place–in the media, from our religious leaders, our politicians, and our friends. Whether we realize it or not in our modern-day, technologically saturated existence, many of our answers come directly from the philosophical tradition. 

Countless Christian philosophers still influence the Church today. Politicians read philosophy. Our movies, music, and books often reflect thinkers or traditions. And sadly, when misogynistic philosophers influence modern thinkers, we continue to find traces of that problematic perspective in the different views of the world. We must recognize this prevailing theme in philosophical thought, lest we find ourselves also believing that women cannot think the deepest of thoughts and see the world as it is. 

These days, thanks to graduate school and a steady devotion to escaping misogynistic conditioning, I am lucky to know of many female philosophers. These women challenge the views of the world put forth by men – especially any that might call women incapable of philosophical thought. 

I leave you here with a list of female thinkers worth exploring.

  • Judith Butler
  • Martha Nussbaum
  • Elizabeth Anscombe
  • Angela Davis
  • bell hooks
  • Katherine Gines
  • Hannah Arendt
  • Simone de Beauvoir
  • Iris Murdoch
  • Hypatia of Alexandria
  • Simone Weil
  • Maria Lugones
  • Sally Haslanger
  • Phillipa Foot
  • Judith Jarvis Thomson
  • Hortense Spillers
  • Luce Irigaray 

You may not consider yourself a philosopher, but we have a strong suspicion that you are. If you’ve got some deep thoughts to share with the world–you can start by sharing them with us. We can help polish your work so it can shine for the world. The world is ready for your deepest thoughts!

women in philosophy

Melissa Bradley is a young professional in Charlotte, North Carolina. She holds an MA in Philosophy and a BA in Philosophy and History. She likes to write, loves to read, and spends most of her time thinking about how the world should be. You can usually find her wandering around outside with her dog.

Medusa Media Collective thanks Melissa for this amazing article. What do you think about the topic? Comment below.

Sources

1 Aristotle, Politics, 1254b 13-14.

2 Hegel, Philosophy of Right, 263 (1973)

3 St. Augustine, De genesi ad litteram

4 One book that lists countless of examples of misogyny is Beverly Clack’s Misogyny in the Western Philosophical Tradition

The Greatest (Male) Thinkers: What Were They Thinking, Actually?

What Being A Women’s Collective Means To Us

Guess what? It’s not purely to exclude men.

So why are we a women’s collective, then?

We are stronger together? Yes, kind of. It is such a cliche, although not the worst cliche. It isn’t a bad concept to overuse by every company, organization, and movement. It’s not untrue. 

Women are stronger together. Also true. 

Women supporting women. Women empowering women. Nice hashtags. We even use them. 

Is that why we are a collective? Because women are stronger together? Well, that’s part of it. Of course, it goes much deeper. At Medusa, everything we do and feel and write and touch goes deeper. 

We are a collective because the patriarchy doesn’t like it. And when the patriarchy doesn’t like something, we want to do it more. Patriarchy has benefitted by keeping women apart, from denying women the opportunity to be a collective body or voice, by calling them witches or other things when they gather. 

The women are talking to each other…burn them. 

Something along those lines. 

In 1486, the Malleus Maleficarum, inspired 2 centuries of witch-hunting hysteria and the subsequent torture of women and systematic destruction of their spiritual practices and health care in Europe and beyond. This oppression lasted 500 years and thanks to colonialism, it traveled to every corner of the Earth–anywhere women gathered. 

And here’s the thing. Women gathered everywhere. They did because humans gather everywhere. It’s what we do. We are social beings. We share stories, learn together and from one another, support each other, laugh together and grieve together. 

Women’s Collectives Takes Strength From the Patriarchy

The patriarchy maintains strength by denying women access to public spaces, keeping women isolated, by keeping us from sharing our stories, by keeping us suspicious of other women, by making us witches and “mean girls” or at least intimidated by “mean girls,” at least frightened enough to point fingers at other women to save ourselves. The patriarchy is stronger when we compete against each other rather than support each other. 

I, and many of the women I know, have been each of these things: isolated, witch, mean girl and intimidated.  

We have also been abused, gaslighted, manipulated and sexually assaulted by men. I’d venture to say that nearly all women have experienced some kind of violence, somewhere on the spectrum, at some point in their lives. 

I don’t know when I became a feminist exactly. I certainly wasn’t raised this way. Nor do I remember when I started gathering with women in more intentional ways and spaces, with structure around sharing and processing and healing. But I do know that I felt my own life improve significantly when I started talking, sharing, being vulnerable, and actively circling with other women. I know that my life has become significantly richer, more open, more silly, and most importantly, more validated.

When we start sharing these experiences, they become real.

They aren’t just hidden away inside each of us as these solitary, unspoken, often doubted, heavy things. When we start sharing, and saying, hey me too, and that is fucked up–then we realize, how it is fucked up the way women have been and continue to be treated by patriarchal societies the world over. 

We are a collective to share. To support women who want to share their stories. To receive and validate (and edit and polish) and honor the stories and voices of women, in their creative process and in their business

womens collective

We are a collective of women, not to exclude men, but to validate ourselves and our experiences. 

Not only that, but we are a collective because it’s more fun. The women we work with are hilarious, loving, wild, gritty, and fun. And we really love to have fun. 

We are a women’s collective to validate.


Your story is important, valuable, and beautiful. Your voice is powerful. Your messiness is perfect and charming. Your art is needed by the world. Your traumas hurt you, and still, you are strong and soft–a work in progress and a complete work of art at once.

And we are here for you.

amy schmidt
Amy Schmidt is the CEO and founder of Medusa Media Collective. She is an editor, writer and teacher. She also teaches yoga, leadership, and empowerment self-defense for women. Her goal in writing is connection through empathy and her passion is working to end gender-based violence. She likes her humor dry and her fruit juicy. 

Storytelling: A Necessity for Women and Humanity

Storytelling: A Necessity for Women and Humanity

The World is Ready to Hear Women’s Narratives

When we think of storytelling do we think of ancient humans sitting mesmerized around a campfire? Do we think of children gathered around a jovial elder? Or do we think of modern social media platforms and marketing? 

Perhaps all of the above. 

Storytelling is a characteristic of humanity, an important part of how we understand our world and see ourselves within it. Stories are how we create culture and from them we learn how to behave within it–for better or worse. Society is not fixed, rather we create culture daily as an ongoing production of the stories we tell. 

Storytelling is also a new buzzword within the world of marketing. It may even be replacing marketing. You aren’t just selling a product or a service, you’re selling your story. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but as soon as something becomes buzzy, or even slightly trendy, I quickly find it a turn off.

But storytelling is never a turn off, because stories are what turn me on more than anything. 

Anyone else? 

Anyone else feel like they could never be bored as long as there are stories to be heard, shared and told? Books to be read. Movies and documentaries. Anyone else fascinated by the fact that a small number of letters that represent a small number of sounds can form infinite arrangements of language and infinite meaning and infinite stories? Or is that just me? 

Anyone else love their own stories? We hope you do! Because when you love your own stories, you’ll be passionate about telling them and we want to hear. We want your stories–your juicy, funny, sweet, sad, bitter, loving, funky human stories. We want them because we know the world needs to hear them too. 

Stories are part of what makes us human.

They are the connecting fibers in the larger fabric of humanity. They make us laugh and cry and feel stuff and raise our empathy for fellow humans. Stories help us understand what it means to be human. 

storytelling

The act of creating stories, and the telling or sharing of them, are natural human processes. They help us as individuals and societies to understand our human experience and locate ourselves within reality. Unfortunately, many humans, women included, have been left out of the process of contributing their stories to the collective.

Using Storytelling To Create New Realities

At Medusa, we want to actively engage in creating a better version of reality. In our reality, women’s stories are culture. We tell, share, shout, and sing them. They are honored and exalted.

We want our collective experience to be like a modern day campfire, warm and vivid, where you’ll likely hear a feminist retelling of Medusa, whispers and roars of our matriarchal ancestors, and songs from these witches who just won’t burn. You’ll hear women who are outspoken and unapologetic.

***

Join us in rewriting and respeaking the collective narrative to one that is holistic, inclusive, and full of previously hushed voices. If you’ve got a story to share, we can help you polish it. Get in touch and send it our way. 


amy schmidt
Amy Schmidt is the CEO and founder of Medusa Media Collective. She is an editor, writer and teacher. She also teaches yoga, leadership, and empowerment self-defense for women (as a diploma coach at the University of Peace). Her goal in writing is a connection through empathy and her passion is working to end gender-based violence. She likes her humor dry and her fruit juicy. 

Are Your Dreams Big Enough?

Are Your Dreams Big Enough?

 Before You Birth Your Dreams, Be Sure to Fatten them Up

“…I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?’” —George Bernard Shaw

What is your dream life? If you could launch your dream creative or entrepreneurial endeavor, how would it look, taste, and feel? What are the dreams you’ve been afraid to share with your family and friends, the dreams you hardly dare to tell yourself?

Whatever it is, I am going to go out on a limb and guess that it could be even bigger

In fact, maybe you haven’t even dreamed it yet!

I could be wrong. I’m basing my hypothesis on a sample size of one human: myself. All the same, I think we have a tendency as a society, as a culture, to try to cut down our dreams to fit inside that cramped, uncomfortable box we call “being realistic.”

We love to talk about making our dreams come true. The sky’s the limit. Shoot for the moon. And other bland cliches that are supposed to be inspiring.

And yet, when it actually comes to doing it, to dreaming those dreams, we peak in Kindergarten. From then on it’s a downhill battle of practicality, shaping our dreams to suit college applications, job interviews, first dates, and family dinners. 

creative consulting
Visioning is a creative start.

Will they like our dreams? Will we be accepted for our true desires, or is it safer to water ourselves, and our dreams, down?

I think it’s great to have practical goals and aspirations—the stuff of family reunions and job applications. They keep us focused and challenge us to grow. However, I would argue that when we limit (yes, limit) ourselves *only* to what “makes sense,” two things happen:

1. We dream small, because we are scared to dream too big. 

I notice this in myself all the time as I vision new projects. That’s why it took me years to finally sit down and write my first book. A travel blog was an “achievable” dream. But a book… What if I failed? Or worse, what if I succeeded?!

If I set a goal, dream a dream, and make it real, then I suddenly have a responsibility to see it through. What if I write the book? Then I feel compelled to publish it, market it, and sell it. If I start the business and it begins to grow, then I must live up to the promises I’ve made in our mission statement, and prove myself worthy of the venture I myself have set into motion. The stakes only get higher as our projects grow into their full potential. Failure is scary, but then, I think success can be just as terrifying. 

dream

2. We don’t know what we don’t know. 

I can’t plan a future full of people I haven’t met yet, experiences I have yet to live, and information I haven’t yet learned. I can only set goals that exist within the realm of conscious possibility. But what about all the possibilities I can’t even imagine?

I’ve had a lot of conversations recently about the gnarled, labyrinthine trails we call our life path. (Of course, in retrospect, it always seems to make more sense.) Ten years ago, I never could have imagined that I would be living in Costa Rica, working with an amazing agricultural storytelling platform (@producersmarket), running a holistic self-defense project (@mujeresfuertescostarica), publishing a book (@vagabondesstravel), or co-founding a certain creative consulting business responsible for this very blog (@medusamediacollective).

I didn’t dream up this life; I lived it into existence, one day at a time. In fact, I couldn’t have dreamed it even if I’d tried! So many key ingredients hadn’t come into my path yet. 

How can we dream big if we can’t even possibly imagine the future possibilities ahead of us? Ay, there’s the rub. There is a fine line between allowing our life to flow according to its own plan, and giving it a supersized, wild-dreaming nudge in a certain direction. I don’t think we have to choose one or the other. We can be both outlandishly imaginative in our dreaming and goal-setting, and also exceptionally fluid in our willingness to follow the unexpected plot twists and seize the undreamed opportunities that arise. 

——————————

That’s all to say, I may not know you or your dreams, but I’d still like to challenge you to consider what your dreams might look like if you weren’t limited by pesky things like, “being realistic,” or “managing expectations.” 

What are the dreams you’ve never dared to entertain? The possibilities that haven’t even entered into your orbit of awareness? What if the sky isn’t the limit?

Today, I know that I have *no idea* what my life will look like ten years from now. The people, places, ideas, and projects that will populate it—maybe I haven’t even met them yet. I certainly haven’t dreamed them. I also know that the dreams I’m terrified to chase are probably the ones most worthy of my attention. These are the wild creatures calling me to be bigger and more daring than I thought possible.

For me, that is all exhilarating! What about you? 

What are your deepest, darkest dreams? The ones you’ve been afraid to tell your family and friends. The ones still gestating deep inside your soul. 

What are the dreams you haven’t even dared to dream

We want to help you birth them!

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” —Mark Twain

——

Ready to birth your dream book, business, or project? Sometimes, it takes a bit of creative consulting—and some really deep breaths. That’s exactly why we’ve created Medusa Media Collective, to help you through the process. Reach out to us at medusamediacollective@gmail.com to get started!

toby israel

Toby Israel is Medusa’s Chief Brainstormer. She is a vagabondess and a storyteller who has a metaphorical closet full of hats, including: Author, Editor, Marketing Consultant, Movement Artist, and Empowerment Self-Defense Instructor. Toby holds a BA in Anthropology from Middlebury College and an MA in Peace and Media Studies from the University for Peace. She speaks four languages, but only edits in English.

Support Women Who Are Kicking Ass in Business

Support Women Who Are Kicking Ass in Business

Why Women-Led Businesses are Outperforming Men

Are women kicking ass in business? Absolutely. Is it good for the economy? Sure. It’s also good for loads of other, more important things. (What?! More important than the economy!?) When women have the opportunity to thrive in business, when they are seen, heard, and included, entire communities reap the benefits. Women-led initiatives help our societies evolve, but the hurdles for women are daunting. 

Barriers to Women in Business

There is plenty of research about the barriers women face in business. At the top of the list is an old favorite–the classic family/household narrative. As the story goes, women struggle to succeed in business because they have more responsibility to their families and households than men. The objective reality of the narrative may vary culturally, but regardless of cultural differences in gender roles, it definitely isn’t the only barrier.

In many places, women don’t even have the option to commit to business. For starters, 2.7 billion women in the world are legally restricted from having the same choice of jobs as men. 

In 2018, 104 economies still had laws preventing women from working in specific jobs, 59 economies have no laws on sexual harassment in the workplace (and just to state the obvious, rampant sexual harassment tends to hinder women’s advancement or participation in certain environments), and in 18 economies, husbands can legally prevent their wives from working. So. There’s all that. But wait, there’s more. 

  • In the legal world, women are 45% of associates but only 22.7% of partners. 
  • In the medical world, women are 40% of all physicians and surgeons, but only 16% of medical school deans.
  • Don’t forget academia! Women currently earn the majority of doctorates (for eight consecutive years) but are only 32% of full professors and 30% of college presidents.
Family still holding us back?

There has been a lot of recent celebration of the increase in women CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. It’s up to a whopping almost 8 percent–all of whom are white it feels important to note. While meager, this 8 percent of white women has at least overcome the fun statistic from a few years ago when there were more CEOs with the name of John or David then there were women. (That’s correct, not John and David combined.) In 2018, 5.3 percent of CEOs in the U.S. had the first name of John, 4.5 percent had the first name David, and 4.1 percent were women. Fascinating, truly. 

Who Is Investing and Why?

In the U.S., female entrepreneurs received significantly less early-stage capital from investors than their male counterparts. This investment gap exists despite the fact that in many countries, women-led businesses are outperforming those founded by men in terms of revenue. Research also shows that women tend to make more realistic projections, ask for more realistic loans and investment capital, and default less. 

Who are the majority of big investors? Who already holds most of the economic power and capital? Take a guess–who are the majority of the people who approve or deny loans? (Hint–it’s not women.) 

And this is not solely a binary situation. This lack of inclusion in investing, receiving investment capital, and general access to entrepreneurship is true across all intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality. 

So while women, BIPOC, differently abled, immigrants, and humans of all genders and sexualities have new and valuable ideas, and while this may make it difficult for the white Davids and Johns to see the value in these products or services, it doesn’t make them any less important or desired. Consider this–all these humans also purchase goods and services and generally tend to exist in the world. 

Changing Tired Narratives 

In Mexico, 39% of businesses are founded by women. These women-led businesses consistently show higher profit margins in comparison to male-led companies. Around the world, women who found businesses are likely to start with less capital, seek less financial backing, and receive less when they do seek it. Despite these financial barriers, women-led businesses are generally kicking ass.

Why are women’s businesses doing so well? It turns out that women have ideas that men may not think of, due to different day-to-day lived experiences. Could it be possible that responsibility to family may even give women ideas for businesses that men have not considered?

women-led businesses
Women are kicking ass in all kinds of businesses.

Perhaps the reason women have been “held back” from entrepreneurship is less about our commitment or responsibility to the family and more about not having had access to capital. 

Perhaps we are still climbing our way out of generations of not having our own bank accounts, the ability to own property, or even access public spaces. Just perhaps, these little details are all related. 

Women-led Businesses Are Good for Communities

There are plenty of calculations that celebrate the economic potential of women. 

Ah, thank you capitalism, women should be equal because there is more money in it. But, as it turns out, women-led businesses are good for society for more than just a dollar amount. 

At the individual level, women experience an improved ability to provide for their families, greater respect in their communities, and increased self-confidence. Furthermore, research suggests that employees are better off in women-led businesses, where there tends to be greater investment in employee growth and well being. 

At the community level, women tend to spend more of their income on education and health, which benefits families, children, and overall community health. 

When opportunities for women are more closely matched with those of men, communities have fewer child deaths, fewer conflicts, and better public services and health. Essentially, when women are more involved in creating and driving the economy, communities are safer and healthier.

A lot of research shows that our societies are better, healthier, and safer when women participate fully in them. When you break it down to a basic thought process, it makes a lot of sense. Equal participation is good for everyone. It’s really not a difficult concept. 

However, it seems to be difficult to carry out. Many gender mainstreaming efforts, and even women’s own advances in leadership and entrepreneurship, seem content, or conditioned, to just add more women into men’s places. Or to encourage women to take on stereotypically male characteristics in order to succeed. Maybe this is how women learned to succeed at first in male-dominated spaces, but now we are learning that we are valuable on our own terms. 

Now we are learning that no human should have to conform to any gender stereotype in order to become successful.

The Goal: Deconstruct Our Notions of Power

The goal isn’t for women to just grab at power and leadership, to take power from men, and then wield it in the same ways. Nor is it (in my opinion) to use women to grow the economy ever larger in the same unsustainable ways. The goal is to deconstruct the notion of power and to reconstruct holistic and healthy societies where all humans are seen, heard, and valued. In this vision, businesses add value to our societies, not just dollar amounts to our economies.

This holds true for all intersecting identities–ethnicities, races, sexualities. All people have unique experiences and lenses through which they view the world. All people have value to add to our economies, governments, and social structures. 

Support Your Local Women-led Business

At Medusa, we are all about women in business. It’s who we are and it’s what we support. Our website was created by a women-led company. Our graphic design and branding was done by a Latina entrepreneur. All of our photographers, coaches and consultants have been women. It was critical to us to support women-led businesses as we built our own brand. 

Go ahead, follow our lead! Support women-led businesses. And while you’re at it, support queer, BIPOC and Latinx-led businesses as well. Our communities only stand to thrive and flourish.

What do you think? More women in business? More CEOs? If you’ve got a business idea cooking or need content for your already-running initiative, get in touch here!


amy schmidt

Amy Schmidt is the CEO and founder of Medusa Media Collective. She is an editor, writer and teacher. She also teaches yoga, leadership, and empowerment self-defense for women. Her goal in writing is connection through empathy and her passion is working to end gender-based violence. She likes her humor dry and her fruit juicy.