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Poetry as Activism for Women in Society

Today I wrote this haiku. I was thinking of how to put the word prompts borrow and aim together. On the surface, I thought of a benign symbol of the idea I was wanting to convey: a bee visiting a flower to gather pollen:

a striped friend aims to

borrow what she needs to build

her community.

But after I typed it, I began reflecting on three deeper levels of symbolism related to women in society.

1. Women prisoners

  • What about women who are jailed (wearing prison stripes) and/or sentenced for theft, drug-dealing, drug possession, shoplifting. We rush as a society to convict and judge? Why?

  • What about community intervention?

  • What about systems in place long before some women turn to crime to make ends meet?

  • Is all theft/shoplifting/drug dealing done out of malice?

  • What laws may be too severe?

  • What prison systems are broken and fail to be rehabilitative or overlook women’s needs to transition once released from prison?

2. Women seeking grants and loans

  • How does society and our financial systems treat women, particularly those who are also minorities, seeking to borrow loans/credit/investment for entrepreneurship? For community initiatives?

  • What could we do as a society to make our banking and financial systems more supportive of and more accessible to women in our industries?

3. Women in the military

  • How does society support women’s involvement in the military, those earning strips of distinction in service?

  • How does society help with the transition from military service back into civilian life?

Thank you for listening. My 5-minute writing exercise led me to have a lot of deep questions this morning. Questions I don’t yet have answers to, but I am working on it. I welcome your comments and suggestions.

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