Women’s Power Tools: A Review of No Excuses, Part 2

Continuing my reflections on Women in the World, I will explore and engage Gloria Feldt’s specific recommendations for women. Based on her book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, I will add in my thoughts based on my women’s studies experience, my own story and my observations of friends and clients. Throughout the book, Feldt blends current issues, concerns, and experiences with empirical data, personal interviews of powerful women. She also offers specific recommendations for taking action. She calls these recommendations “power tools.” Each chapter explores and expands on one power tool, except Chapter 8 which sums up all of them. I will say if you’re pressed for time and have some relevant background knowledge, I recommend reading the Prologue, Chapter 1 and 2, Chapter 8 and the Epilogue. I think you’ll get 90% of the good stuff from those 5 sections alone. I would also recommend pairing this book with When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins. Although the two combined will kindle outrage among thinking women… I warned you!   No Excuses covers so much territory in its 354 pages, I find it very challenging to keep  this review remotely concise. In a world filled with wimpy self-help books that’s a nice problem to have! Power Tool #1: Know Your History and You Can Create the Future of Your Choice Basically, Feldt argues you can’t embrace power and make progress happen unless you are familiar with what has already happened. As they say, there is nothing new under the sun. Knowing and...

No Excuses: A Review of 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, Part 1

I just finished reading  No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think about Power by author Gloria Feldt. She is the former president and CEO of Planned Parenthood and in No Excuses Feldt argues that women aren’t breaking the glass ceiling because of our uncomfortable relationship with power. Instead, she offers an alternative definition or style of power and then outlines 9 “power tools” that women can use to implement this concept. Along the way, she shares significant tidbits of the history of the women’s movement and the stories of individuals who exemplify an idea called “power to.” By emphasizing “power to” instead of “power over”, Feldt promotes a new approach for success and growth for the women leaders of tomorrow. The first section of the book expands on the basic idea that what’s really holding women back from achieving full parity in society is our own internal discomfort with owning and using our own power. She explains this discomfort is connected to our experience of oppression at the hands of “power over,” the type of power that creates winners and losers. Feldt asserts women should embrace “power to,” a type of power that improves all of us. Another reason we struggle to recognize our power, according to Feldt, is the degree to which we have been co-opted or internalized the dominant, masculine paradigm for power and powerful ways of being and acting. She asserts the feminine, inclusive style of leadership has significant value and as such should give us the strength to overcome our internalized messages about power. Basically, she asserts women are more naturally inclined to a collaborative...