I was the first generation that women’s lib hit full on. During college I was forced to pay someone to type my term papers, because I’d attended an all girls prep school that drilled it into us that we had to be the top executives of fortune 500 companies. They didn’t offer a course in typing for fear we would settle for being secretaries. I didn’t dare say aloud that my biggest aspiration was to become a mother.

Julie Anne, Tatjana, and Nick Rhodes

I eventually found a way to forge a successful and fulfilling career while playing “Suzy Homemaker” for the multitudes as a personal chef. Still, no matter what new peak of success I climb, none will be more important, more gratifying, or a stronger driving force than my role as mother.

Obviously I think the ideal of equality for women is a great one, and I’m grateful for the freedom that it has afforded me, but in our quest for change, somewhere along the line we silenced our own feminine voice. A powerful voice that holds an inherent responsibility to women and children in countries less fortunate. One should not preclude the other. We can be successful people without denying our femininity – our ability to nurture.

The lioness with her cub

The moment my daughter was born, I became acutely aware of a fierce power within me. Love had an entirely new meaning. I knew I would not hesitate to do whatever it took to feed and protect my child. If we, as women unite to find our collective feminine voice, I believe we can harness those primal instincts to effect real social change – the kind that will protect neglected and abused women and their children globally. One that may ultimately protect the future of the entire human race.

I don’t pretend to be a spiritually evolved intellectual with all the answers. I am a constant work in progress (that often feels more a mess than gleaming example), but I seem to have an innate gift for attracting exceptional human beings into my orbit. People who are actively working towards making unnecessary deaths during childbirth and starving children atrocities of the past. Women who understand the importance of education and universal acceptance in the fight against poverty – effectively our greatest hope for world peace. Women who truly inspire.

June Sarpong and Julie Anne Rhodes

June Sarpong MBE, the stunning young English television presenter, ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, and active campaigner for the Make Poverty History movement asked me to introduce her to to acclaimed spiritual speaker and multiple New York Times bestseller, Marianne Williamson whose own work with Sister Giant and RESULTS, I knew, would afford the perfect opportunity for two extremely powerful, like-minded women to bond. It was an electrifying evening. June has fervently been organizing the upcoming WIE Symposium with co hosts Sarah Brown (former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife), influential dynamo Arianna Huffington, and fashion virtuoso Donna Karan; and wanted to ask Marianne to speak at the first WIE Symposium scheduled for September 20th in New York City. I got to witness a part of the miracle coming together.

As a woman and a mother, I can no longer remain complacent, so I joined the WIE network, and will be attending the symposium to learn how I can be part of the solution. The irony of finally honoring motherhood through an organization of highly successful women in enterprise appealed to me. Tickets sales will benefit the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and the Urban Zen Foundation. It is my sincere hope that you will take action too.

“Western women should be a moral force on this planet. We should not be infantilized; we should not be pretending we don’t know what’s going on; we should not be giving in to the various and ubiquitous temptations to anesthetize ourselves. Quite the opposite, we should be taking the wheel of human civilization and saying to anyone who will listen: We’re turning the ship around, and we’re turning it around NOW.” Marianne Williamson

For more information on any of the wonderful organizations mentioned, and how you might like to get involved, just click on the links above (where the names are highlighted). I’d love to hear your recipes for hope! Click on comments below, and let me know of any thoughts, concerns, or solutions you may have that you would like me to take along to the WIE Symposium.
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  • August 13, 2010
    1:50 pm

    I do believe you read my mindRebecca Timoleontos

  • August 13, 2010
    1:58 pm

    I'm so pleased you commented Rebecca, and it excites me that you feel the same way! One of the most thrilling parts of writing the blog is that I see from my analytics that it is read in 125 countries and territories over six continents! My words are reaching out globally, and I want to hear your thoughts back. This is an opportunity to learn from each other how we can collectively make a difference.

  • August 13, 2010
    3:22 pm

    One of the best things I ever did when my children were very young and I was extremely overwhelmed was join a local Mother's group. At first, I was a bit stand-offish. I was worried about being judged or that I might not fit in. But, what I discovered was that no matter how different we all were, we all had that one thing in common: We were mothers! We not only support each other, we reach out by helping those outside our group, too. In a sense, we spread the love!Thank you Jewels, for your thoughtful perspective on motherhood. I have to say that I now have included you in my pool of motherly love! Congrats on getting the message out to the world.

  • August 14, 2010
    3:08 am

    Jewels, that was very beautiful what you said about motherhood. I completely agree. I think even when women don't have children of their own they usually wind up mothering someone or something (lately around here it seems to be little dogs in special purses, carried about like a fashion accessory.)…it would be nice to see some of that "motherly love" channeled in a way to help those less fortunate. ~mari

  • August 14, 2010
    5:52 pm

    Thanks MLC – it's that spreading the love that is so important, and yes Mari – lets channel that love to help anyone and everyone less fortunate.

  • August 14, 2010
    5:54 pm

    When I was a teenager an older friend of mine gave me the stone-ripple effect analogy, that if you start with the circle closest to you and move out eventually that ripple gets larger and larger…I am a long time supporter of Amnesty Intl. but there are so many NGO's that help women and human beings in general!But you don't have to go global to help -sometimes noticing the neighbor in need opens up doors to help too and is more personal -its almost a bigger commitment since you will see them again as opposed to a one time trip or donation,etc.(but any good is good really).Penelope Worley

  • August 14, 2010
    5:54 pm

    That's an important cause you've signed up for.Mark Downie

  • August 14, 2010
    6:13 pm

    Penelope you bring up a lot of interesting points. I agree, I think the ripple should and usually does start with our own families and friends, then spreads through community, to city, country, and world. Treating our neighbors with respect and kindness SHOULD be a given, but I think the stronger commitment comes in caring beyond our immediate environment – caring about people we could just as easily ignore, because their plight does not effect us as much on a personal level. I also agree that while donations are needed and a great way to start, it takes a a much bigger commitment to bring real change about. It takes educating ourselves to their circumstances, spreading the word throughout our communities so that more people care, and making sure our elected officials know we feel strongly about the causes that matter to us. I for one, find it inexcusable that there are over 100,000 hungry and homeless women and children on the streets of Los Angeles on any given night of the year, but my caring about them is easy – I see them every day. I don't see the children in other countries around the globe starving, and I need to care about them just as much, because it is not all right for even one child to die of starvation, anywhere.

  • August 17, 2010
    5:22 am

    I loved this, Julie Anne. Thank you so much for bringing it to my attentino.