Dr. Karen Strier started a field study on the Northern Muriquis (primates) in 1982. Since then, she has been tracking the muriquis and compiling the data and findings in the Muriqui Behavioral Ecology Database (MBED). MBED looks at stochastic demographic fluctuations and individual life histories to better understand population viabilities and behavior as their territory is altered and negatively affected by humans (source: anthropology.wisc.edu). She was one of the first to conduct such a study. Additionally, due to her long-term involvement in Brazil, where the muriquis are endemic, her research and voice have made a difference in Brazil’s environmental education and efforts.
Other female primatologists undoubtedly helped pave the way for Dr. Karen Strier, such as Diane Fossey, Birute Galdikas, and Jane Goodall. Primatology is now an area of science with one of the highest proportions of female to male scientists (source: CBC).
Rebecca is blessed to have been a part of the MBED lab in her college years at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and she greatly admires these scientists who have revolutionized our understanding of primates.
One of my favorite TV shows was “Mad Men,” a period drama about an advertising agency in New York in the 1960s. One of the things I found so compelling about the show was how strictly it adhered to every detail of the time period — from the costumes and set design, to the cultural norms of the time. This included the discrimination and harassment the women in the office endured, not to mention the fact that (at the beginning of the series) not one of those women worked outside the secretary pool.
Eventually in the storyline, one secretary, Peggy Olsen, had the courage to show her creative skills to the men in charge and was promoted to copywriter, the only female one in the company. By the end of the seven-year series, Peggy was on her way to being an executive at a top advertising agency.
Peggy was based on real-life copywriter and advertising genius Jane Maas, who became only the second woman officer in the history of advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather. In 1964, Maas landed a job as a junior copywriter at Ogilvy & Mather, writing ads for everything from Dove soap to American Express. She rose to become a creative director before leaving in 1976 to join Wells Rich Greene, where she created the iconic “I Love New York” ads and wrote the classic book, How to Advertise.
I’m grateful for the trailblazers of my industry who had the courage to aim high and succeeded in breaking into what was a men’s-only world in the mid-20th century. Having more women in design has only made the industry better.
How crazy is it that it is only within my mom’s lifetime that working moms were protected from being discriminated against in the hiring process? While moms have been part of the workforce for decades, it wasn’t until a Supreme Court Case in the early 70s that there were protections for moms applying for jobs. Thanks to Ida Phillips, who applied for a job in 1966 only to be told that due to her preschool age child, she couldn’t be hired, I have the choice to be a working mom without fear of being discriminated against (of course, here at Evoke, it wouldn’t be a worry!)
We still have a long way to go, but laws around providing maternity leave, giving moms time to pump/breastfeed at work, and support for continued education, all help keep women in the workforce and move us towards closing the pay gap.
I am blessed to work for a women-led company who supports my journey into early motherhood, AND my career journey. Supportive employers like Kelly make all the difference.
Here’s to all the working moms out there- Happy Women’s History Month!
“Women’s history month is as old as I am? Seriously?” My thoughts exactly when I did some research in honor of women’s history month. This seems completely ridiculous until you look back at our collective history.
Women’s History Month started as just one day - on February 28, 1909, in New York City to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the 15,000 women who marched in the garment workers’ strikes. Which then led to a week-long celebration in 1978. Did the women who participated in this sweatshop strike, many of them immigrants, understand the historic impacts of their actions? Or were they simply looking for justice and a safe working environment so they could support themselves and their families?
Either way, it is a humble reminder that the same struggles faced by women in the early 1900’s - equality, to be safe at work, to be seen as human - have not changed much in the year of 2023. Yet, we have one whole month - instead of only one day - dedicated to the resolve and power of women in our country, culture and world.
My great grandmother, Violet, was 3 years old at the time of the first women’s history week. Violet was one of my first examples of a strong, outspoken woman who prioritized her family while making minimal concessions on how she would live her life. Grandma Vi endured the harsh realities of a husband who loved the bottle a little too much, yet continued to defy the role of a woman at the time by working most of her life rather than staying home with her child.
By the time my brother and I came along, Vi had been living on her own for many years after her husband passed, and continued to drive well into her 80s only to give up the wheel on her own terms. We would visit Grandma Vi in her quaint apartment where she always had a dish of mint chocolates and “bullseyes” (the individually wrapped, soft caramel wheels filled with white sugary cream in the middle). My mother always tried her best to limit our candy intake - but was thwarted by a slap on the wrist from Grandma Vi proclaiming “this is my house…they can have as much as they want!” I know who to blame for my sweet tooth :)
She loved lobster, making (and consuming!) Swedish cookies her mother taught her how to bake and getting her hair permed. I am not sure if she ever participated in a protest or donated to a women's rights group. But, she most definitely set the example for the women of the Wadman, Rudd, and Holloway families - women can make their own rules, laugh as loud as they want, set boundaries, and be respected for their thoughts and ideas.
Grandma Vi left this earthly world in June of 2001, the day after my brother Barry, her first great grandson, graduated from high school. She said she would “make the Lord wait - I have to see Barry in his cap and gown”. Not even the Heavenly Father could keep my Grandma Vi from living her life the way she wanted to.
We Love a Humble Church.
Do me a favor and go to your website and pick a random page to read.
How many times does that page say...
your "church name"?
Now count how many times it says “you” or “your” "you’re"....
My dad did not share with me his genetic disposition for placing bets, buying weekly lottery tickets and then winning 80% of the time even at slot machines - but if he had, I would bet my retirement funds that the "we's" out pace the "you's".
"For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” - Luke 14:11
Although not always intentional, we have fallen into an unhelpful habit of talking about ourselves, our church, our ministries all too often.
Why is this a problem you may ask? Let's think about this scenario as real people having a conversation.
If your best friend were to only talk about themselves, their experiences and their hardships, you would consider them self centered and hard to be around.
If they fail to ask you any questions about your life or your perspective on the topic at hand, you would find it hard to continue to be in a relationship with this person. Frankly, the title of BFF would most likely be revoked.
Potential worshippers, visitors or guests - whatever you wish to call those not yet connected to your congregation in some way - are doing the same thing.
Walking away. Not engaging. Not taking the next step in relationship with a congregation.
We need to live into our call as Jesus' followers and humble ourselves in order to garner trust with new-to-us folks. We need to reframe how we speak to those looking for a church community.
Here are some steps you can take now:
1. Throw out the list of ministries.
We regularly see a list of ministries or committees on church websites. Yet, these lists only glorify the amount of work these teams do rather than how lives and relationships are being impacted in the midst of these ministries.
From a new person's perspective - they don't care much about how busy your teams are and frankly, they aren't looking to join another team, so it is a fool's errand to continue to list ministries as if they are products that a consumer can add to their cart.
A new person wants to know:
Instead, highlight the values of the congregation (i.e. gathering for worship, building relationships, radical welcome to all God's people, serving those in need in the community and world...). You will find when you center the values of the congregation on the website, that sharing about ministries happens naturally.
For example, if serving the surrounding community is a value, you will find it easy to share all the ways that a person can get connected to feeding the hungry, supporting the unhoused or using their knitting skills to make baby blankets for the newest saints at the women's shelter.
2. Change every "we" statement to a "you" statement.
When writing content for any communication, especially your website, try putting the reader/visitor first with every statement you make. It is easier to talk about ourselves first so this will take a concerted effort to change your focus each time you go to write.
Some examples of how this reframing will change your language:
3. Use storytelling more than advertising.
When we adapt our thought process to sharing the good news about what God is up to versus advertising the next food drive - it’s hard to make the church the center of the conversation. God and the lives changed becomes the focus.
Here are some good storytelling examples: