The First Chapter: a year in review and what's coming next

[00:00:00] Section: Podcast introduction

[00:00:00] Overdub: Hello, welcome to The Story of Woman, the podcast exploring what a man-made world looks like when we see it through her eyes. Woman's perspective is missing from our understanding of the world. This podcast is on a mission to change that. I’m your host, Anna Stoecklein and each episode I'll be speaking with an author about the implications of her absence - how we got here, what still needs to be changed, and how telling her story will improve everyone's next chapter.

[00:00:33] Anna: Hello, friends. Welcome, welcome. Thanks as always for being here. I hope everyone who celebrates the holidays has had a wonderful December, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, whatever holiday it might be.

[00:00:48] Anna: But I just wanted to pop in your ears for a minute to give you an update on the podcast and also to have a little celebration with you as the podcast has been around for just under a year now, which is really hard to believe, but fills me with so much joy and pride if I'm being honest. Because when I first started thinking about creating this podcast, literally the first things I Googled were "how to interview" and "how to create a podcast". And I won't lie in those moments, imposter syndrome nearly one out. But in the end, the cause was just too urgent. It was the cause of women and in turn, all of humanity that pushed me to actually create this one year ago.

[00:01:34] Anna: And it was all of you women and gender non conformers and the fewer, but just as important men out there listening, that have kept this podcast alive and helped build it into what it is today, a year later. You all listening are absolutely everything, and I know this probably sounds horribly cheesy, but you all are genuinely what keeps this podcast going. Firstly, because what's the point going through the effort of creating this if I'm the only one who listens. But also, you've gotta understand that podcasting can be quite isolat ing. You spend weeks on your own reading, listening to other podcasts, doing your research on the guests, and preparing your questions. Then you have maybe an hour of an amazing conversation with that guest. Then you spend a few more weeks on your own producing and editing the interview and creating all the ancillary social media kit that you see.

[00:02:31] Anna: And don't get me wrong, I love this work. In fact, since launching this podcast, I've made a career out of it. I now produce and host podcasts for people who pay me to do so. Shout out to Mission Based Media and the Health Podcast Network for anyone looking for some phenomenal health related podcast, they've got you covered.

[00:02:51] Anna: But in this podcast, my podcast, which I'm hoping to make my full-time focus so I can bring you way more and even better content, it can be isolating. So knowing all of you are out there listening, hearing from you through social media or by dropping into my email inbox, or the few of you who have taken me up on that offer for the virtual coffee, and I've had the pleasure of speaking with at length, you all are what have kept this podcast alive. This podcast and feminism, when it's done right, is all about community and we've created a fantastic little community of storytellers who are hungry to hear more about womankind and continue this story onward. I love to imagine us all in the same room together, connecting and plotting. Women from all over the world, because currently there are listeners from 98 countries around the world. 98! The power of technology to connect us can be such a beautiful thing.

[00:03:52] Anna: So first order of business in this rare solo episode is to thank you from the bottom of my fired up feminist heart. Thank you for being here, and thank you for coming back.

[00:04:04] Anna: Also, I wanted to tell you what's to come for the podcast because I may not have gotten into the medium until relatively recently, but let me tell you, I've got big plans. Shock horror, a woman talking about her ambition. But I do. I've got big plans, and though I can't say exactly where this podcast is going, what I can say is that I've got quite a few big ideas and with your help, and ambition, I think anything is possible. For one, I hope to find different ways of bringing you all into the mix a bit more really focusing on that community aspect. Shout out to Jo, my new communications director, who will be a big part of this journey. I'm thinking live interviews, in-person events, listener led episodes, guest hosts who have different lived experiences than mine, so many ways for us to connect and bring womankind story even more to the forefront.

[00:05:02] Anna: So that's one thing, and there are many more ideas that I have that I won't get into now, but I will get into what's coming in March of next year. I have the incredible fortune in the coming months to be interviewing some world-leading women for a special series that I'm working on that will be released the week of International Women's Day next year. That's the first week of March.

[00:05:25] Anna: I am gonna be somewhat vague as the guests are still being finalized and anything can happen from now until then, but what I can tell you is that I'll be speaking with some of today's leading change makers from various industries about all things change: change at a macro level, looking at womankind throughout time and all over the world. You know, what has progressive change for womankind looked like so far? Where are we now and where do we need to go? How does systemic lasting change even happen? And how is it that individual people drive that kind of change?

[00:06:03] Anna: And we'll be looking at change at a more micro level. What is a change maker and what does it take to be one? Is it innate? Is it learned? How have these women at the top who have been leading change, gotten to where they are today? How can you begin or build upon your own journey as a change maker?

[00:06:22] Anna: These are just some of the questions we'll be answering because in these moments when we are literally moving backwards, it's all too easy to feel like we live in societies, doomed to oppress women forever. But the reality, the climate crisis aside, we are better off than we've ever been. You just have to zoom out far enough to see it. And what has happened in the past when our mothers, grandmothers, great, great, great grandmothers had their backs against the wall, had their rights taken away or didn't even have them in the first place, they have, as individual women used whatever tools they had at their disposal be that their voice, their husband's voice, a hunger strike or a seat in the government, they've used these tools to fight forward and make whatever change they could, no matter how small. And all those little acts of courage, of defiance of action add up to get us to where we are today.

[00:07:20] Anna: And that's where I see us at now. Not as a world doomed to oppress women forever, but as a world with an opportunity to grow stronger than ever before. Exactly as womankind has done for thousands of years. And you don't have to look further than the powerful, strong, uh, brave, I mean, these words don't even cut it, the women and girls in Iran and all the men and boys alongside of them, to feel the fire of change that is underway.

[00:07:50] Anna: And to be clear, we are by no means satisfied by some things in some places being better than they were, but we can move forward with hope, understanding that we've been here before. And it's all the women that came before us that have gotten us to where we are today, and now it's our turn.

[00:08:10] Anna: So that is the series that I'm working on. It will still very much be the story of woman. We will still be looking at different parts of the world through women's perspective, exploring where we are, how we got here, and what still needs to be changed.

[00:08:25] Anna: And while not everyone in this series will have written a non-fiction book about women and gender, to be honest, the vast majority have, and I'll absolutely be talking about and sharing those.

[00:08:37] Anna: So to give you a little bit more insight into what that series is going to entail, I'll be speaking with two to three of today's leading change makers from various backgrounds and industries. My plan, as of today, is for the series to be split into two parts. Part one being about the pioneers, those doing the thing that causes the change. That will be entrepreneurs, elected leaders, business leaders and innovators, athletes, environmentalists, activists and advocates, and those driving change at the intersection of gender and another marginalized group.

[00:09:13] Anna: Then part two will be about the storytellers, those telling the stories about these incredible women, about our world and also about how the world could be, so also those telling fictional stories as well.

[00:09:28] Anna: And that'll be journalists, historians and educators, authors of course, artists, so filmmakers, actresses, musicians, comedians and the next generation of change makers.

[00:09:41] Anna: And I decided to split it up like this because I see change happening through two main ways. There's the person who creates the change or is the first person to break through the ceiling. And then there are those who tell their stories because you can't be what you can't see. So every time someone creates the change, and every time someone amplifies that story, people get to see that woman who led a Fortune 500 company, those women who took down one of the most powerful sexual predators of Hollywood, that woman who is elected president. And if they see those women, they think, Hmm, maybe I could do that. And they become changemakers themselves. And so the ripple effects of progress continue from Susan B. Anthony and Ida B. Wells, to Gloria Steinem and Kamala Harris, to you.

[00:10:35] Anna: And I'm so excited to create this that I've actually taken a sabbatical from said employment that I just mentioned, which is in part terrifying. But this deserves my full attention. And like I said, I've got big ideas and I'm trying to make woman's story as mainstream as I can. I mean, how else are we going to reach all of these change makers and finally change the narrative?

[00:11:01] Anna: So that means I'm going to be pausing putting out new episodes from now until that series comes out in March, which pains me, but I promise will be worth the wait. In the meantime, if you've gotten anything out of this past year with me and the incredible guest I've been so lucky to speak with, I could use your help keeping this little engine chugging along. I honestly hate so much asking for these things, probably because, shock horror, I'm a female who has been trained to be selfless and giving, because anything else would be completely selfish and greedy of me.

[00:11:35] Anna: But that's something I'm working on. I mean, look at me talking about my ambition and asking for help in one episode. Ugh, the nerve. Anyway, you will probably already know what I'm gonna ask. Basically, anything that helps other people find the podcast. So tell a friend, tell all your friends if you'd like. Give it a rating and a review on Apple Podcast, Spotify, and all the other places. This really helps the algorithms and other people find the podcast. Post about it on socials. Follow the podcast on socials. I'm gonna be posting a lot more in the coming months with some behind the scenes stuff, so it's a great place to keep up with the latest.

[00:12:15] Anna: And on a similar note, sign up to the newsletter if you haven't already. Not only will you get to stay informed with the latest happenings that way, but you'll also get a weekly dose of all things women: movie recommendations, news, headlines, woman of the week, everything you'd want on a Friday to start the weekend off right.

[00:12:33] Anna: If you're newer to this podcast, make sure to go back and listen to the episodes from earlier this year. The series started off with a conversation with Mary Ann Sieghart about her book, The Authority Gap, which is, in her words, the mother of all gender gaps, because it essentially undermines women in every aspect of their existence, no big deal.

[00:12:55] Anna: There are also episodes about the economy, the myth of the male and female brain, medicine, birth control, weddings. There's an episode with a fantastic trans woman who tells the story of what it was like losing all of her male privilege after transitioning, and the many, many lessons she's learned since about gender inequality and living as a woman in this world. And there are many more, so check them out.

[00:13:23] Anna: And regular listeners, if you'd like to revisit the episodes, be my guest. Either way, let me know what you think. I'd love to know which episodes were your favorite? Which books did you read? What aha moments have stuck with you? What have you noticed in your life that you didn't notice before? In fact, I've actually made a short survey available to answer these kinds of questions because I'd really like to hear what you think.

[00:13:50] Anna: It really helps me in creating better content, to know what resonated with people. And also it's just great to hear from you all like I've mentioned. And I'll share with you all what was said, so you can connect and learn from each other as well, going back to that community. And you can always just write to me, but there's a link in the show notes for this survey, super quick to fill out. And also every question is optional, so you can just answer one or two, you know, whatever you wanna answer, that's fine. You can also be on the lookout on social media or in the newsletter I'll be sharing it there as well.

[00:14:23] Anna: So those are all incredibly important and helpful for the podcast and all 100% free. If you are able and you care to take your support of my work, and this mission, a step further, there are two ways to provide monetary support since this does in fact cost money to produce, and I have in essence, quit my job, um, all funds go directly back into the podcast paying for equipment, the various platforms and services required to produce and host it, and the people that I plan to employ to really help lift this thing.

[00:14:58] Anna: You can give a one-off amount of your choosing by buying me a coffee, a metaphorical coffee because as I just mentioned, these funds go toward the podcast, not my coffee habit. Um, or you can become a patron of the podcast through Patreon. There are a few different tiers in there available for a couple dollars a month that give you access to bonus content with some of these phenomenal people that I've interviewed so far. And it also allows you to listen to all the episodes ad free, saving you precious minutes in your day. And when this special series comes out, I'll be creating even more bonus content with these world leading women, so even more of a reason to become a patron.

[00:15:39] Anna: Consider it buying stock in the future of womankind. Your return might not be monetary, but it will be helping to push that needle of change in the right direction. Because one person never created change on their own. It's always been the really small things that accumulate and drive progress forward, whether that be one body at a protest, or $2 for the mission of this podcast. That is how change happens. Links for all of these things are in the show notes as well as on the website and social media.

[00:16:15] Anna: And on a final separate note, I love people and I love collaborating. So if you've got an idea for the podcast, for making woman's story even bigger and helping to reach more, hit me up. You can find contact details again in the show notes, on social media, on the website, and pretty much anywhere the story of woman exists. It's not hard to reach me and I reply to everyone. Except perhaps to those who write me asking why I hate men. Those people I ignore.

[00:16:48] Anna: All right, that's about it. One year down, hopefully many more to go. I am so excited to see what the next year of the Story of Woman holds, and I am even more excited to have you along for the journey. Thank you for being here. Keep taking up space. And here's to 2023 being a year of change, but perhaps this time in the right direction. Let's make it happen.

[00:17:15] Anna: And I'm gonna end with a little sound bite from each of the episodes released this first year. Enjoy.

[00:17:22] Anna: Episode One, Woman and Authority, Mary Ann Sieghart, the Authority Gap

[00:17:29] Mary Ann Sieghart: You know, suppose we make a point at a meeting and no one takes a blind bit of notice. A man makes the same point 10 minutes later and it's treated like the second coming. Okay. This is such a common phenomenon. And we'd beat ourselves up and we think, "Oh, I obviously didn't make the point well enough or I wasn't confident enough or I wasn't enough." No, you were just too female.

[00:17:47] Anna: Episode Two, Woman and Innovation and the Economy, Katrine Marcal, Mother of Invention

[00:17:56] Katrine Marcal: We are ignoring a lot of good ideas, we are leaving money on the table. There's so much potential and you know, we are innovating with at least one hand tied behind our backs and, what could happen if we cut that rope, I mean anything, and that's quite exciting to think about.

[00:18:13] Anna: Episode Three, Woman and Sex- Gender Myths, Gina Rippon, The Gendered Brain

[00:18:20] Gina Rippon: From day one, whole day zero, if you like, when babies arrive in the world, they are highly tuned to pick up social cues. And if little girls are told not to make a fuss, to sit still, they're rewarded when they get things right, that will shape their behavior.

[00:18:38] Anna: Episode Four, Woman and Arab Feminism, Farda D, Rants of a Rebel Arab Feminist

[00:18:47] Farida D.: Regardless of our culture, our religion, our language, our upbringing, the patriarchy is one. But how it manifests in different cultures and countries is different. It's not a matter of who is more or less oppressed, but more of how does this patriarchy manifest itself in different ways.

[00:19:08] Anna: Episode Five and Six, Woman and Medicine, Part One and Two, Elinor Cleghorn, Unwell Women

[00:19:16] Elinor Cleghorn: We've been silenced around our bodies for too long and we should always have the opportunity to celebrate what they are, what they can do, how they can feel.

[00:19:25] Anna: Episode Seven, Woman and Birth Control, Dr. Krystale Littlejohn, Just Get on the Pill

[00:19:32] Krystale Littlejohn: The key thing to think about is that we always try and blame women for structural problems and the solution is not in their behaviors. The solution is in our social approach to a whole host of aspects of their lives when it comes to income, employment, childcare, right? Those are the areas to focus on. Not trying to get women to not have babies by using whatever form of birth control we think is best for them to use at that point.

[00:19:59] Anna: Episode Eight, Woman and Lessons From a New One, Paula Stone Williams, As a Woman

[00:20:06] Paula Stone Williams: "Guys, if there's just one thing you could do, one single thing would make a huge difference. Assume a woman knows what she's talking about and treat her accordingly."

[00:20:16] Anna: Episode Nine Woman and Cities, Leslie Kern, Feminist City

[00:20:23] Leslie Kern: We've just been taught to believe that this is just normal, right? Like this is just a natural way of doing things, you know, that sense of like, not being able to just get on the bus at the end of a long day at work and just like truly relax, because you don't know who could potentially be around you. You have to keep your eyes open and if you don't, you're likely to be blamed for something bad.

[00:20:42] Anna: Episode 10, Woman and Weddings, Katrina Majkut, The Adventures and Discoveries of a Feminist Bride

[00:20:52] Katrina Majkut: I was raised in a time where women are supposed to be equal to men, but then you get these cultural institutions that are just really slowly chipping away at that concept and really sort of undermining it. At the end of the day, I think a marriage is about taking care of the person you love and making sure that they they are happy and have a life that they can be the best person that they can be. And if you have traditions that cut that down, that's defeating your purpose as a partner.

[00:21:21] Anna: Episode 11, Woman and Those Changing the World, Asha Daya, Today's Wonder Women

[00:21:29] Asha Dahya: The more women share our stories, the more we speak out, it may seem like change isn't happening, but you know, one person by ourself, it feels like we're isolated, but if 10,000 of us do it, well, guess what? We're an army now. So let's all do it and change the world together.

[00:21:43] Anna: Episode 12, Woman and White Feminism, Koa Beck, White Feminism

[00:21:50] Koa Beck: Narratives about white feminism have been very successful in conveying, I think to the broader culture, that feminism is just everywhere now and that, everything's great for women. For many women and non-binary people, feminism has not come at all.

[00:22:06] Anna: Episode 13, Woman and Abortion Access, Carol Joffe, Obstacle Course

[00:22:14] Carole Joffe: The majority of Americans know that if they need an abortion or someone they care about needs abortion, then they probably can get it. Most abortion patients are poor, disproportionately people of color. These are the most marginalized people in American society.

[00:22:31] Anna: And David S Cohen

[00:22:33] David S. Cohen: Everyone loves someone who had an abortion. But not many people talk about it. But when they talk about it, what you realize is that people who get abortions are good people, people we love, people we like, people who had their reasons, and people who are living good lives.

[00:22:49] Anna: Episode 14, Woman and the Morality of Abortion, Dr. Willie Parker, Life's Work

[00:22:57] Dr Willie Parker: There's not been a law yet that's been passed that will stop a woman from ending a pregnancy that she doesn't want. Legal status of abortion determines whether or not a woman can do that safely. So when Roe is overturned, all we will do is increase the peril associated with reproduction in this country. We will see women die. There will be consequences.

[00:23:19] Anna: Episode 15, Woman and Unbiased Parenting, Virginia Mendez, Childhood Unlimited

[00:23:27] Virginia Mendez: It is really everywhere. And especially in the life of a child. We have language, we have clothes, we have toys, we have books, we have media. Like that's how they are shaping the world. That's how they are understanding who they are. Who am I expected to be? Who the world around me is. And whenever the way we present it to them is the same, and it's very narrow, they're going to think that's the truth because why wouldn't they?

[00:23:53] Anna: Episode 16, Woman and Arab Feminism, Round Two, Farda D, The List of Shit that Made Me a Feminist

[00:24:02] Farida D.: Women's rage is what has written books, changed laws, changed mindsets, created art, created activism. All this was from women's rage. So why would I keep that under control? No, I'm gonna take my rage and turn it into the change I want to see in the world. It's the key to fighting the system.

[00:24:25] Anna: Episode 17, Woman and Subcultures, Lucy Leonelli, A Year in the Life

[00:24:31] Lucy Leonelli: The main theme was this yearning for connection. When I quizzed them on why they decided to join the group and then why they stayed. It was usually, I have a shared interest and so I want to do a battle reenactment, or I find it liberating being naked. So there is something typically that leads them to this group, but what keeps them there is that connection.

[00:24:55] Anna: Episode 18, Bonus Episode, A Compilation of Storytellers

[00:25:01] Katrine Marçal: I think the story of woman is the great untold thing that will save us. I do think that almost all the things that we have categorized for different reasons as feminine and therefore excluded from things like, for example, economics, bringing them back in, bringing that story back in, is where the solution to almost all of our problems will come from.

[00:25:23] Anna: Episode 19, Woman and Workplace Bias, Gill Witty Collins, Why Men Win At Work

[00:25:31] Gill Whitty-Collins: Everywhere I have looked, every country, every organization, business, wherever it is, when I look at the senior level, that real top top level, no matter how equal that organization started out at the recruitment level, at the top, it's over 90% men.

[00:25:55] Anna: Episode 20, Woman and Sexual Freedom, Natalie Lee, Feeling Myself

[00:26:02] Natalie Lee: It's just ridiculous, isn't it? 18% of women can orgasm through penetration, yet here we are still bloody bashing away at it, thinking that that's what's gonna get the woman off. Well, yeah, we need to revisit that for sure. Don't we?

[00:26:20] Anna: Episode 21, Woman and Gendered Emotions, Pragya Agarwal, Hysterical

[00:26:27] Dr Pragya Agrawal: But a collective anger that we are seeing right now, the simmering, seething anger that we are seeing amongst women everywhere in this world, I think's a fantastic thing. We all need to show that we are not okay with this. We are not going to accept it. And it's okay if we are called hysterical. It's okay if we are called angry. Anger can be a fantastic agent for change, but it also depends on who's allowed to express that anger and whose anger is taken seriously.

[00:26:57] Anna: Episode 22, Woman and Advocacy, Cynthia Changyit Levin, From Changing Diapers to Changing the World

[00:27:05] Cynthia Changyit Levin: You are an expert in your own feelings and your own story, and we need you. I wrote this book to build a movement of moms and others because we need more voices and many diverse voices. Not just me. Not just people like me. We need you.

[00:27:22] Anna: Episode 23, Woman and Fairy Tales and Greek Myths, Karrie Fransman, Gender Swapped Fairy Tales and Gender Swapped Greek Myths

[00:27:33] Karrie Fransman: We sort of envisioned this book as part book, part activism, and part like, art object. We see this book as like it's fallen through some kind of wormhole from some other universe where women are in charge and have always been, and create an object like that. You know, it's not to be laughed at. It's not like a jokey thing. It's a serious book, which looks at narrative, language and archetypes which have permeated our culture for centuries.

[00:28:02] Anna: And Jonathan Plackett

[00:28:05] Jonathon Placket: This a story I'd never seen. This is a man fighting against the matriarchy. A man being told you're not allowed to be brave like the women. I just never seen that world before.

[00:28:14] Anna: And with every episode, as always, asking the question, what is the story of woman to you?

[00:28:23] Elinor Cleghorn: The story of women is this story of who has been exempted from dominant narratives. Absolutely it is. The story of women is an extraordinary story that sits beneath what we're all told is history.

[00:28:38] Farida D.: The things we are afraid to feel, to speak, our story is in the silence I think. Every silence has a story.

[00:28:47] Asha Dahya: I think the story of woman is still unfolding. I think it's not a singular journey and we are all on it together. And each of us has the power to write parts of that journey.

[00:28:59] Overdub: Thanks for listening. The Story of Woman is a one-woman operation... so if you enjoyed this episode, there are a few small things you can do that make a big difference in helping other people find the podcast and allowing me to continue putting out new episodes!

[00:29:18] Overdub: You can subscribe, leave a review, share with a friend, follow us on social, become a patreon for access to bonus interviews and content, buy me a... metaphorical coffee which helps with production funds, or head to the website and check out the bookstore filled with 100's of books like this one. If you purchase any book through the links on the website, you support this podcast - and local bookstores! Soooo feel free to do all your book shopping there! All of these options are in the show notes.

[00:29:53] Overdub: Anything you can do is appreciated and makes a big difference in elevating woman from the footnotes of our story to the main narrative.

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Anna Stoecklein
Anna Stoecklein
Founder, Producer, Host