This weekend Los Angeles will be charged with energy as the second annual Women's March is put on in the heart of the diverse California city. This will be my first time attending the march, side by side with some of my good friends and female colleagues in cannabis.
I have so many thoughts running through my head as to the past, present, and future of women's rights. Unraveling the centuries of cultural stigmas can seem pretty daunting to the naked eye, but the healing process has already taken form.
Historically, the clashes of gender and sex equality are nothing new. Some of the earliest literature found in Mesopotamia dictate the same social rules that we are still struggling to balance today.
In ancient civilization it was common for women and men to both have access to education and similar careers. Women were often scribes, doctors, and healers. It wasn't until the Semitic invasions that women were dis-empowered through access to education (2600 BC). Once women were excluded from formal education these positions were no longer women's occupations (1000 BC).
At this time, religious shifts began from the merging of Polytheistic to Monotheistic points of view, which started the restructuring of Goddesses.
Ishtar the Healer, was a Goddess worshiped in a time when women were freely able to practice medicine, science, and healing. It is believed that she was also the Goddess of Cannabis - as there are many allusions to burning of incense in her honor, which at the time is believed to be synonymous with smoking cannabis. Ishtar was a Goddess of a civilization that had strong matriarchal women who were both intelligent and compassionate.
We sexualize women in our culture to create a more submissive and vulnerable representation of femininity. Although femininity is not inherently a sign of weakness, it threatens the expression of hyper-masculinity, making it seem like the opposition to strength. This sexualization, paired with the legal denial of education to women has created an environment to naturally oppress women from excelling in any advanced fields.
WOMEN IN SCIENCE
Ishtar's worshipers have a story that resonates so fervently with me. Being a women in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field has always come so naturally to me. Using science and curiosity as my tool belt to help craft a healthier world for those around me is second nature.
Culturally, we often associate STEM with a lack of feeling, discouraging people from wanting to relate to these fields. But science is romantic! There are uncertainties, and there is honesty. There are surprises, and compromises. Being able to apply science to cannabis has offered me the opportunity to use my applied knowledge to help in healing and giving to others.
WOMEN IN SCIENCE AND CANNABIS
This female plant has empowered many women to step forward and take the lead in this developing industry. It certainly was no cake walk, there were (and still ARE) plenty of road bumps and "man-splaining" to endure. But ultimately, this was something you may find in any industry today...
It has always felt awkward being on the fringe of the scientific community, while also on the fringe of cannabis counter-culture. As a women dabbling in two fields that are both so strongly male-dominated, I often feel isolated or unrelatable. I think this may be a more systemic problem in our culture than in any one industry - but I do hope that the civil rights movement that is happening within Cannabis will bleed over into STEM industries.
We are at the dawn of a new time, where integrity is everything & and accountability begins to stitch wounds. We have come so far in gender and sex equality, and there is still a long way to go. It brings me so much joy to know how close we are to a time of compassion and matriarchy, with so many strong women building each other up to break the social stigmas and be free to be the brilliant and beautiful people that we are.
At a time when gender and sex equality are prevalent in our minds, it is important to shed light on the roots of this movement. The strength has always been there, waiting: in the plumes of smoke in the healers' garden.