Prosecco Think Tank Global Launch: VERVE Operative Claire Ryder in Philly
Philadelphia had another Prosecco Think Tank (PTT), joining women globally who were hosting in their home towns. For me personally, this was a much needed night. Earlier in the week I had a particularly unpleasant interaction with my misogynist boss and I was still fuming. It seemed like every day there were new assault allegations and a pedophile was seriously running for senate. I need a space where I to process this nonsense.
One of the things that make PTTs so critical is that they provide a space for women who agree that there are grave injustices towards women and girls going on in our society to process them. As a child I did not understand that there were women who didn’t recognize that sexism was still alive and well. As an adult I realize that many, perhaps most of the women I interact with don’t recognize microaggressions against women, the emotional labor we are expected to bear, or the way that we are pitted against each other. Having time set aside to surround myself with women who get it is invaluable.
A lot of the discussion focused around what workplaces are like for women. I got to vent and get validation about my frustrating situation (more about this when I am not dependent on this man for my livelihood). The other women talked about experiences they’ve had in the workplace. It’s amazing how similar our experiences have been. From being a token to be expected to behave in a ladylike way to negotiations for appropriate compensation, women continue to struggle for equality in the workplace. And if you’re a woman of color (or have a disability or identify as LGBTQIA or a number of other factors) your struggles are magnified. One of my dear London friends (met through Verve, of course) works in a field dominated by men and I would have loved for her to have been at the PTT for our workplace discussion.
We also got a little treat. One of our new friends has some skills and recorded us talking about why PTTs are important and what feminism means to us. She’s going to edit it for us and then we’ll be able to share in our own voices. I’m hoping she’ll be willing to do that for future PTTs as well. Next time we’ll go around the room and ask everyone if they identified as a feminist and if so when they first realized they were a feminist. That’s my favorite question. People’s answers are always so fascinating. We didn’t do that this time because we had two new women joining us and started informally introducing people then the conversation evolved and flowed so naturally that I didn’t want to disrupt it. It’ll make for a great recording though.
The other exciting part of this PTT was that we made some future plans. Firstly (and we talked about this in London) is a book club. I had some of my books out and we were talking about other books that should be on our list. I’m particularly eager to get people reading Lean Out by Dawn Foster. As those who know me are aware, I’m a book dragon so a feminist book club is right up my alley. Secondly is that we planned a running club. In Philadelphia there is a 10 mile race every spring called Broad Street Run. It’s the biggest 10 miler in the country and an iconic Philadelphia experience. You can register as a group and I thought we’d look pretty badass in Prosecco Think Tank tanks (get it? hehehe). Not to mention the Women’s March 2018 which Philadelphia is planning to go hard for. More on that in January.
So we’ve got our book club for the mind, the running club for the body, and PTTs for the soul. After the New Year we’re planning a PTT brunch because who doesn’t love brunch?
Merry whatever and happy everything! See you all in 2018.
Article by Claire Ryder
VERVE Operative USA & Humanitarian Activist