Diversify your social network. When thinking about other moms you know and interact with regularly, how difficult is it for you to get together as a group? What are some of the challenges your group is facing? For your friends who have trouble getting together with you, what are some of the impediments? How can these things like going to the PTA meeting or helping with your daughter’s Girl Scout troop be more accessible for you?
If your life can easily accommodate another parental obligation (whether it’s volunteering at the school library or being the most active room-mom ever), it might be time to think about ways that you can share your social capital and find ways to improve accessibility to other mothers. Marsh says that “Often, we think that, because we’ve provided others with options, we’ve made things accessible, but options don’t always equate to accessibility because you’re making assumptions about other people’s ability to participate in the way you do.”
Remember that the root word for Community and Compromise means “together” -- to live in community means finding ways to compromise and collaborate so that, together, everyone’s needs are met.
Developing awareness of our own biases about the experiences of others is an important step in developing equitable spaces. Another important step is to remember that we are all on our own journeys and other people might be in a different place in their journey than we are in ours. In the process of building strong communities, our bias might crop up in the form of defensiveness, but we need to remember that the best way to overcome that bias is compromise where we can so that we can collaborate and work toward the greater good.
Non-government, community based organizations and social groups can fill an important role in creating equitable spaces. Developing and diversifying your connections is a good way to strengthen your social network and help others develop theirs. This takes deliberate action and diligent work. That’s the work we’re here to do.