Woman 2020: Meredith / by Jenn Heflin

WOMAN2020: Meredith

WOMAN2020: Meredith

It has been a crazy year for women. Historically, though, we know every year is crazy for women. If ever things are going to change, now seems like the moment. WOMAN 2020 is a snapshot of women during this time of upheaval. We are building careers, raising children, living our lives, and trying to impact the world in positive ways, and I believe all women have much to say. This is Meredith’s Q&A.

What is your name, occupation, and role (or roles) you most identify with? 
Meredith Jaeger, Author and mother

What's the most positive thing about being a woman in 2019?
Knowing we are fighting side by side for our rights. The Women's March was empowering. Despite our collective hurt, anger and frustration, we banded together around the world and showed the power of our resistance.

What's the weirdest/worst thing about being a woman in 2019?
The fact that Roe versus Wade is in danger of being overturned. This is unfathomable to me and makes me feel like I'm living in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Am I really going to have to fight for the same rights my mother fought for back in the 70s? The government is not in charge of my body. Conservative men who claim to have "family values" don't care about mothers and children, or we'd have paid maternity leave and socialized healthcare. And don't even get me started on the immigrant children that have been ripped form their parents' arms at the border. The hypocrisy is maddening.

How do you maintain your resiliency in tough times? 
I find other women who are fighting the good fight and turn to them for guidance. I am inspired by Glennon Doyle Melton and the work she is doing. I follow her on Instagram and I can always count on her to have a call to action on her feed. We fight and then we rest, so we can get back to fighting tomorrow. Resting for me means taking a break from social media, curling up with my husband, my bulldog and my toddler, and enjoying the love of my family. I am also in a position of being able to speak publicly on social issues, through my novels and author interviews. I use my platform to resist, even when I am exhausted.

What can women do to make it better for other women? 
Realize that there is enough room for everyone to succeed. A woman shining her light brightly is not going to dim your shine. Raise each other up. Support one another. I am proud to say that I read almost exclusively female authors and we have an incredible community in which we support one another. Publishing is such a competitive industry, and yet we are out here blurbing each other's books, writing positive reviews, attending each other's events and showing genuine happiness for each woman who hits a bestseller list, or has success in her career. And to women who are established in their careers, be a mentor. I derive so much joy from teaching aspiring authors about the publishing industry.

What can men do to make it better for women? 
Just like white privilege is a very real thing, and white people need to admit they benefit from it (I know I do) men need to recognize that toxic masculinity and rape culture are real. The more men can educate themselves, the more they can help women by being good allies. They can address income inequality by speaking up in the workplace about how much they make, and argue for female colleagues to make equal pay. They can punish their sons if they catch them using abusive or derogatory language towards women (in text messages, online, in person) and teach these boys at a young age why that kind of behavior isn't okay. Men can recognize that emotional labor IS labor, and take on more of the stereotypically "female" roles in the home.

What else?
Support female owned businesses! Especially when a donation of the proceeds goes towards a good cause.

Visit the WOMAN 2020 webpage to tell your story and to stay in touch about the exhibition opening in Spring of 2020.