Why we must talk about Feminism inside the classrooms 

Statistics that make us cry and be angry

In a world were 35% of women in the whole world has experienced some physical and/or sexual violence by their partners or former partners and 50% of the women victims of homicides were killed by their partners or family members, talk about Feminism is urgent. And the first and most important place to start this conversation is inside the classroom.

More numbers to scare: in the USA, “1 in 15 children are exposed to intimate partner violence each year, and 90% of these children are eyewitnesses to this violence.”* This means that a considerable number of children will not be taught the importance of respect and limits in relationships and social life inside their houses. Even more, they see and experience these aggressions and probably will continue in the vicious cycle of violence by men and subordination by the women.

see violence against women - feminism
What the children see and hear can become a trauma or an imitation. Protect women against domestic violence is protecting the future of children and society. Let´s end the vicious cycle of violence.

“violence against women 1169348 960 720” by TCIJ is licensed under CC0 1.0.

But first of all, we must understand what is Feminism and what other social movements it embraces.

So, what is Feminism after all?

I am going to start answering this question by telling you what Feminism is not. 

-Feminism is not made of lesbians who hate men (most of us are married or have some relationship with one). 

-Feminism is not (only) women protesting in public places exposing their bodies or making some chocking performance to draw attention to the movement and the causes we fight for (most of us practise it in our daily routines). 

-Feminism is not composed only by women (yes, a lot of men already understood what the movement is and the importance to be feminists themselves).

-Feminism is not women desiring to be better than men or to have what they have (man and woman are different, we don’t want to become men, we want the respect men to have just for being men). 

That said, now we can start to understand what Feminism is.

let´s talk about feminism inside the classroom - feminist movement symbol
The Venus symbol with a fist in the middle represents the Feminist movement.

“feminism” is licensed under CC0 1.0.

According to bell hooks in her book Feminism is for Everybody, “Feminism is a movement to end sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression.” And what that mean? Simply (or not), it means to change our cultural assumptions that define the tasks we must do, the accepted behaviours, and the choices we have since we are born according to what kind of body we have, male or female. 

Another excellent definition is made by Estelle Freedman in her book No Turning Back: The History of Feminism and the Future of Women: “Feminism is a belief that women and men are inherent of equal worth. Because most societies privilege men as a group, social movements are necessary to achieve equality between women and men, with the understanding that gender always intersects with other social hierarchies.” But what other social movements the feminist one embraces?

Intersectionality is the word of the mo(ve)ment

When talking about social movements is critical to understand that there is a massive overlap between their causes. It is impossible, for instance, to say that all races must have equal treatment while men mistreat women. So, we are living in an era when people involved in different social movements are realizing that to fight alone will not solve the problem because the issue is so much more complicated than just their injustice. It is called Intersectionality.

As a white woman, I have the consciousness that I am underprivileged in comparison to white men, in some cases, privileged comparing to back men, but certainly with much more privilege than a black woman. Consider that, in this example, I’m putting on the scale only concepts related to race and gender. Imagine now trying to add so many other layers like class, ethnicity, sexuality, religiosity, culture, disability, and other discriminations. How your privilege weight would be?

four children in a seesaw
What is the weight of your privilege?

We all have to learn that while one person suffers discrimination for any reason, there is no justice for all. (Just a thought: wouldn’t be beautiful if all those groups gathered together to form an Intersectional Social Justice movement to fight the White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy? Oh, dreams…)

And to develop a real transformation to the next generations (let’s be honest, it’s hard to believe that we will fix it so soon) it has to start with us, and we have to pass to the newest people in the world: children and teenagers. 

How to talk about Feminism and Intersectionality inside the classroom?

Teaching a child since the earliest years about essential feminist ideas is not hard at all.

-Teaching respect is like showing that nobody is more or less important than the other for any reason.

-Giving them similar chores illustrates that we are all responsible for cleaning what we dirty, independently of our gender. The same with options to play, as girls like to play with cars as much as boys like to play with dolls.

-Not tolerating any violence, because they must know that hurt other living beings is not acceptable in our society, and this is an essential one if we wish to diminish the statistics mentioned in the first and second paragraphs.

These simple tasks will help them to develop a sense of equal worth among all their peers.  The feeling of equivalency (not equity) that will become later among all the society.

To the older students, when they have sexual education in Biology classes, the word Feminism must be present in discussions connected to the notion of mutual consensus. It’s essential to give a name to concepts that affect all of us individually and as a community.

the famous five canada feminism
Part of the Famous Five statue in Ottawa, Canada. These five Albertan women fought for women´s right to vote in Canada at the beginning of the 20th Century.

“suffragettes Statue of Two Suffragettes” by andrewbecks is licensed under CC01.0.

Also, they should reflect on the history of the social justice movements in History classes. The Feminist Waves, the Civil Rights movement, Indigenous Movements, LGBTQ movements. All revolutionary people around the globe who fought and gave their freedom and lives for better conditions for the less privileged. They should always be remembered in our schools to inspire the possibility of transformation in the student’s hearts.

What about you?

There are numerous ways to talk to children and teenagers about Intersectionality and all the social movements involved inside the classroom. Share in our comments, Forum or Instagram what you do with your class or your children at home that inspires them the willingness to make the world a better place for everybody.

Let’s share good ideas and support each other on this journey.

children in a tunnel - talk about feminism in the classroom
Helping children to understand feminism and intersectionality encourages them to choose a better path for themselves and for everybody around them.

References to talk more about Feminism

*All the data on the first part of the post was retrieved from National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) https://ncadv.org/statistics

I highly recommend the reading of Gender and Women’s Studies Critical Terrain – Second Edition edition by Margaret Hobbs and Carla Rice. The book brings a myriad of articles retrieved from different books of experts on every topic related to Feminism.

You also can find a lot of fantastic videos on Youtube of bell hooks, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Malala, Roxane Gay, Ligia Moreiras to cite some. These amazing women are spreading knowledge and light about Feminism on the internet and around the world. It’s worth a check!

Love and Gratitude!

Juliana Troll Trujillo

IWalComm creator

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January ́s Inspirations: begin the year with joy

New year, new inspiration

A new year begins and with it numerous opportunities. From anywhere on the globe, you can decide to make a small or great change in your life and this transformation can lead you to experiences you not expected. So how about to give it a try and start in January a simple challenge in your life that will help you to slow down and enjoy the rest of the year?

What is your inspiration for 2020? What is your challenge for the new year? How about to slow down watching nature?

It can be to observe a tree, a bush, or any vegetable in your garden every day during the year to see that insignificant changes on a daily basis make miracles happen in the long run. Or you could just make a panel where you can put a different word that inspires you every day. It could be anything that changes your routine and makes you focus on the task. So I decided to start every month with a post that brings inspiration for myself and for you, my dear reader.

Begin it now!

And I could not share with you a quote from William Hutchison Murray citing the last two sentences from the German philosopher Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe that inspired me in an important moment of my life. When my family and I decided to move to another country, I read it every day and it keeps inspiring me to make my dreams come true. My last one, publishing a book, that I tell more about after the quote.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”

William Hutchison Murray, citing the last paragraph from Goethe.

Inspiration from the sky

In November of 2019, I finally brought out to the world a children’s story that I wrote and illustrated 2 years ago: Helio meets Luna-Luna meets Helio. (You can buy it here and support a new author in her journey to become a professional writer). I had to translate it to English, as I originally wrote it in Portuguese, and find out by myself how to self-publish. It was quite a work and gave me a lot of insomnia, but in the end, I loved the result. 

The cover of Heiio meets Luna – Lunas meets Helio. The sense of cycles and the continuity of life is experienced also by starting the reading by any side of the book.

The story itself is an inspiration for me. Two archetypes are presented in the characters: male and female, Sun and Moon, Helio and Luna. They go through different paths, wonder about their changes, doubt if there is anything else, and eventually find each other. And in this meeting everything makes sense. Like an eclipse, the encounter is ephemeral but brings hope for new cycles and new beginnings.

A page of the book about cycles, paths and meetings. The poetical inspiration to start a new year.

About flowers and Primavesi

And to finalize the January´s inspiration to begin the year with joy, a picture of a flower that I saw yesterday, after some days of snow. This simple plant flowering on a concrete corner on such harsh weather made me realize the following.

January´s inspiration: about flowers

And this sentence I dedicate to Ana Primavesi, the centenary jatoba who tumbled today with 99 years old. Leaving a legacy on Agronomic Science and on all of us inspired for her fight for nature. Thanks for the seeds of care and love you spread all around the globe. You are the flower I am talking about. 


Do you have some inspirational quotes, pictures, songs, or videos you would like to share? Contact us and help us to write February´s inspiration post.

Love and Gratitude,

Juliana Troll Trujillo

IWalComm creator

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The Holy Nights and a reflection about dark times

Three years ago, in the middle of December, I went to a lecture on the school I used to work. A lovely lady named Luciana Pinheiro* came from Campinas to São Carlos to talk to us about the 12 Holy Nights. Until that moment, I had no idea what it was and how important it would become in my life. So, in this post, right before Christmas, I want to share with you my experience with it, and maybe inspire you to try it too. Also, I will exhibit a critical reflection about the terrible times we are living in and the significance of practices like this.


But, there are 12 or 13 Holy Nights?

At the turning-point of time, 

The Spirit-Light of the World  

Entered the stream of Earthly Evolution.  

Darkness of Night had held its sway;  

Day-radiant Light poured into the souls of men,  

Light that gave warmth to simple shepherds’ hearts,  

Light that enlightened the wise heads of kings.

  O Light Divine! O Sun of Christ!  

Warm Thou our hearts,  Enlighten Thou our heads,  

That good may become  

What from our hearts we would find  

And from our heads direct  

With a single purpose.

Rudolf Steiner

First, we have to understand what they are. On our calendars, we consider the year zero the one predicted to be when the Christ would be born. Scholars say the real birth happened a few years earlier, but this subject is not for this post. So, our society considers two different eras: before and after Christ. However, it is not only a temporal mark. The birth of the baby Jesus has a deeper spiritual meaning: the birth of light in a world full of darkness.

So the defenceless infant in the arms of a caring mother, protected by the father, symbolizes the birth of the human “I.” This image makes the memory of our destinies and paths as individuals and as humankind. Then that almost magical scene became the signal of eternity renewed yearly, and the child, an archetype of spiritual development over all humans.

After his birth, the tree Wise Man started a journey to find the divine boy and to present him with symbolic gifts. That period between Jesus’ birth on December 25th to the arrival of the Wise Man on January 6th is known as the Holy Nights.

Christmas tree star
The star illuminated the path to the Tree Wise man for 12 nights, and since then, every year the divine light comes over us all to guide us through the following year.

In my research to write this article, I found different types of counting, starting and ending on different days. For instance, most of the North Hemisphere countries consider the start of the meditative day on the dawn, while in the South, at midnight. Some say the start day is on December 24th, others on the 25th. And the same occurs with the ending on January 5th or 6th. Either way, the essential part of the process is not so much the exact time of your meditation, but the intentions you put on it.

So during this time, it is said that the communication paths between the Earth and the Spiritual world are open, and divine blessings pour over us through the portals of the 12 constellations of the zodiac. 


How does it work?

Each night symbolizes a month of the following year and has a corresponding constellation and meditation. On that first workshop that I participated in, Luciana also talked about a stone that represents each day and brings specific characteristics to the meditation. So considering this, we should call it 12 Holy Nights. Yes, but most people use the night of December 24th or January 6th to have a glimpse of the whole year. That way, we can also say 13 Holy Nights. So, it is your choice, as it is not a standardized process.

Holy Nights open notebook
The notebook I made last year. Small to be carried into my purse in case I have to travel during the Holidays. It is nice to take some time to make your own notebook with one page for each the meditations you can find further on this article, followed by one page for each question, one for the dreams, feelings, and music´s notes, other for key-words, and the last one to the feedback. Repeat it for each month.

According to Steiner, each day is also governed by a spiritual hierarchy. (https://wn.rsarchive.org/GA/GA0110/19090412a01.html) Then, the first thing before you go to sleep each night is to ask a question related to the month to be meditated to the hierarchy of the day.

It is essential to create an environment of devotion and calm within yourself. We all know this time of the year is full of distractions and duties invented to divert us from our inner life. But be persistent, and you will discover amazing things about your following year, as it happened to me in these past three years when I dedicated myself to this practice. It is not a tool to plan your year, but it is a gift that allows us to be aware of what may happen and prepare our feelings and souls for what is about to come. 


Step-by-step

Here are some basic daily steps for beginners:

Lighting the candle for the Holy Nights
Prepare yourself to receive the light of 2020.
  1. Prepare the environment with something that relaxes and brings your attention to yourself, like a candle, aromatherapy, or a song.
  2. Do your meditation about that day and write a question to the correspondent hierarchy. Think of something that you might expect for that month, but avoid queries with “why” or “how.” Don’t try to find reasons, just events or feelings.
  3. Live a notebook and a pen beside your bed in case you wake up in the middle of the night with an image or feeling in mind. Write as soon as you can to avoid losing important information. Dreams use to vanish really fast, and materializing them by writing will help you to remember more details in the morning. And, even in the dark, try to write them on the order you dreamed. This can be more meaningful than the dream itself.
  4. As soon as you wake up, take a deep breath and try to remember the last dreams, feelings, songs, poems, verses, or whatever comes to your mind. Write them down in order.
  5. Now try to rewrite the drafts of the night, remembering all the details that come to your mind.
  6. Underline the essential words or sentences.
  7. Meditate over that images having your question to the hierarchy in mind. Don’t censor the flow of your ideas.
  8. Summarize the ideas in a few key-words.
  9. If you feel something, or start to sing a song, or meet someone during the day, you can always add that to your notes. It is not only what happens during the dream time that counts. Sometimes you may not have dreams, but a lot of things can happen during the day that will bring an answer to your question. So be attentive!

12 (or 13) Holy Night meditations in 5 languages

You can find the meditations in these links:

English 1

English 2

Brazilian Portuguese 1

Brazilian Portuguese 2

French

German 1

German 2

Spanish 1

Spanish 2

(Please, let me know if some link is not working).


My experience with the Holy Nights

One month that I will never forget is August 2017. On my small notebook that fit in the palm of my hand, I asked the questions: “How my life will be in general? How will I be dealing with my internal questions?” 

The dream I had that night is still as bright as water in my mind. A scene from the movie Titanic with musicians calmly playing while the ship sinks, people over the wreckage, swimming after the lifeboats. So, on my meditation page, I wrote that “ideas and ideals that have been the foundation of my life until then will sink. Art will bring me calm at this moment. There will be a great effort to survive, but I will pass through the storm.”

Holy Nights notebooks
My Holy Night notebooks from 2017 to 2019.

On that month, right on my birthday, I decided that I would not profess the religion I was born into and which I had intensely proclaimed for the last 30 years. My religiosity was my Titanic, and it sank indeed. It was a hard, however, a liberating moment of my biography.


The reflection about dark times

Writing about this important milestone in my history, I realized how much my view about life, religion, religiosity, and religious symbols changed. Also, after watching this video from Nina Veiga** to prepare myself for Christmas, I thought it was essential to bring light to a delicate subject within this post. With the raising of a fascist wave in numerous countries, everyone must be awake to what this political movement could mean to your community and to your individuality.

Colourful knitting ball
Fighting fascist ideals with love, art, and education. The enlightenment of the Holy Nights can help us all to overcome this dark period of our era.

Why am I saying that here? Well, first, because after I decided to become not religious, I was able to see and feel how someone who thinks outside the mainstream religious ideology is treated. Moreover, I realized how I was unfair and judgy while I was submerged into that religious frame.

Only when we know deeply about the other, and the other’s believes we can free ourselves from the hegemonic view of life. And the interest of these raging people in charge of many governments is to keep their status and power. And it happens by reinforcing old, misogynous, racist, homophobic, violent, and religious thoughts over the population. So the people who think and act differently will always be an enemy. Thus, what can we do as educators, teachers, parents, and citizens to avoid the support of these destroying actions without hurting our own faith and beliefs? What kind of changes in our routines, celebrations and symbols should we adopt as a protest in favour of life and diversity? 

The immanence of the times

I love the term Nina uses to describe this way to look and deal with the change in times inside the study of the man conducted by Steiner: Anthroposophy of Immanence. The times are changing fast, our culture and costumes too. So how the anthroposophical study can or should be moulded to adapt to our times, being more inclusive and propagating the good? I hope to delve into this subject and bring more questions about it in the next posts because this one is already too long.

Please, share your thoughts and come to build with me the world we want for our children and for us. You are welcome to continue this conversation in our Forum


I just would like to finish this post wishing you, your family, your community, and your country a Merry and Peaceful Christmas, Hanukkah, Festivals of Light, Summer/Winter Solstice, or just December 25th. It does not matter to whom or what you pray on this day. What is essential is to celebrate and keep the divine light shining inside ourselves!

Start and candle
Let the Divine Light shine upon us all!

Love and Gratitude!

Juliana Troll Trujillo

IWalComm creator

* Luciana de Andrade Pinheiro Ventre is a Biographical Advisor and Art Educator, Specialist in Anthroposophy 

**Nina Veiga is a Brazilian Doctor of Education, writer and Waldorf Educator. Know more about her on www.ninaveiga.com.br

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