Feminist icon Gloria Feldt pulls no punches in her new book, which encourages women to step into positions of power and leadership—now. In No Excuses, she argues that the most confounding problem facing women today isn’t that doors aren’t open, but that not enough women are walking through them. From the boardroom to the bedroom, public office to personal relationships, she asserts that nobody is keeping women from parity—except themselves.Through interviews, historical perspective, and anecdotes, No Excuses examines why barriers to equality still exist in American society. Feldt employs a no-nonsense, tough-love point of view to expose the internal and external roadblocks holding women back, but she doesn’t place blame; rather, she provides inspiration, hope, and courage—as well as concrete “power tools”—the 9 ways, with one highlighted in each chapter—to aid women in securing equality and justice for themselves.No Excuses is a timely and invaluable book that intends to help women equalize gender power in politics, work, and love.
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No Excuses Review
- January 1, 1970Elin WaldalGloria Feldt's No Excuses is a work of genious. This book is rich with practical advice for all women to embrace their own personal power and not just feel it, but utilize it, to live "an unlimited life." I enjoyed the historical references and real life examples that are woven throughout the book making No Excuses a good read as well as a "how to" all in one.more
- January 1, 1970Joanne TombrakosWhether you lean left, right or in between, if you are a woman you should read this book!For more of what I think check out my blog:http://onewomanseye.blogspot.com/2010...
- January 1, 1970Veronicareview coming soon
- January 1, 1970ElizabethVery early in the book, Feldt tackles one of my favorite questions – why don’t more women run for office? The reasons are complicated and can easily be applied to any number of questions about why women have not achieved equality in a given field. But there are ways to work around whatever these obstacles are – be they lack of resources, or internalized sexism and self doubt. Women involved in Emily’s Listor The White House Project often say that given a man and a woman of equal qualifications, Very early in the book, Feldt tackles one of my favorite questions – why don’t more women run for office? The reasons are complicated and can easily be applied to any number of questions about why women have not achieved equality in a given field. But there are ways to work around whatever these obstacles are – be they lack of resources, or internalized sexism and self doubt. Women involved in Emily’s Listor The White House Project often say that given a man and a woman of equal qualifications, the man is more likely to take the initiative and run for office and the woman is more likely to say that she is unqualified. However, a survey of women politicans shows that women are more likely to run if someone asks them to than to spontaneously decide for themselves. Thus was born She Should Run a website where anyone can nominate and encourage women they know to run for office.It’s interesting to speculate what the future would look like if more women took on positions of power in government and business. A study reported in Politico reported that women are more effective legislators than men. Feldt often references the 30% threshold – this is thought to be the number of women necessary in a leadership role in an organization when they can have a substantial impact. The US Congress is far away from this at 17% but many corporate boardrooms, and even the Supreme Court are trending in that direction.Feldt also encourages women to apply these principles to their marriages and personal relationships with men if they feel they are being treated unfairly.A lot of Feldt’s argument relies on a belief that all women share common goals and should work together to achieve them."It’s heartbreaking to me that in our half-finished feminist revolution, women still tend to isolate themselves, to think that their problems are individual concerns that they must solve alone. We feel our lack of power to make change, because when one person tries to fight the system alone, she is, in fact, relatively powerless. It’s when we just think of ourselves as individuals rather than reaching out to our sisters and brothers that things are likely to stay the same for the next women that comes along. More than that, if we fail to recognize how our choices influence the world – either by reinforcing the status quo or challenging it – we’re doomed to live lives of diminished possibilities."I can agree with that on paper. But sadly the feminist movement does have some history of racism, homophobia and classism in it’s past. Feldt does include women from a diversity of backgrounds as examples in her book. But I’m not sure what she would make of women who align themselves with all of the goals of feminism but refuse to take the label because of past wrongdoing. I do agree that some policies – equal pay, reproductive justice, and better daycare for example would benefit all women. But that has more to do with the systemic sexism/injustices (Patriarchy/Kyriarchy) that remain in our society than any inherent similarities that all women share. To argue otherwise would be arguing for a type of gender essentialism that I cannot accept.Nevertheless, I really did enjoy this book, and I have been recommending it to women that I know. I had never thought about power before. When my Political Science professors would mention it, my eyes would glaze over. It was too theoretical a concept for me to be bothered with. I am a pragmatist at heart and this book does compliment that tendency. Feldt takes great care to explain exactly what she means by power, and calls her definition “power to.” As in the power to make change – in opposition to “power over” which is about hierarchy. Even so, there were a few instances of woo I could have done without. For example, I still do not understand what Feldt means by “live unlimited.” Unlimited from what? Patriarchy? Internalized sexism? Generic self-doubt? Gravity? Thetans?Without a basic understanding of the concepts of modern day feminism, the book does sound more like the Law of Attraction than a way to put theory into practice. Take for example the idea that “power must be claimed.” I understand it to mean that if I want to start a blog or a new business or run for Senate, no one will do it for me but myself. Anyone familiar with Feldt’s amazing record of activism will know what she means. Without this background, the concepts are much more nebulous. It is also for these reasons that I prefer the more specific terms autonomy and intention (which are used in the book sometimes) than power and live unlimited.This book is fundamentally liberal. In that I mean that it takes the position that women can take actions to improve their lives and the lives of other women. This philosophy is one I am firmly on the side of, and I admire the steps Feldt has taken on twitter and via other media to reach out to younger feminists to spread her ideas.“No Excuses” is extremely valuable because many women struggle with the idea that they are powerful or have autonomy I wonder how much has to do with the kinds of stereotype threat described in Delusions of Gender. It’s something I struggle with and is much easier to confront when thinking of it as a part of feminist activism that most women struggle with than a unique personal insecurity.Feldt summed it up best when she wrote:"Today our challenge is to value ourselves and demand that others do, too."more
- January 1, 1970Morgan AshleyGloria Feldt challenges the reader to think critically and women to push themselves to move forward confidently. She gives great advice and tools to help women combat both the obvious challenges they face and the subliminal ones.
- January 1, 1970Elizabeth HallStand in your power and walk with intention.Those words of advice—a call to action—from Gloria Feldt, in her book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, resonated deeply with me. They describe exactly what I have been learning to do since beginning this blog.Throughout her book, Ms. Feldt emphasizes power-to (the ability, determination, and persistence to accomplish an ambition), distinguishing it from power-over (the current way most of us conceive of power—a paradigm of Stand in your power and walk with intention.Those words of advice—a call to action—from Gloria Feldt, in her book No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power, resonated deeply with me. They describe exactly what I have been learning to do since beginning this blog.Throughout her book, Ms. Feldt emphasizes power-to (the ability, determination, and persistence to accomplish an ambition), distinguishing it from power-over (the current way most of us conceive of power—a paradigm of dominance). She also gives women the following power tools to help us step up to the plate of our own power and follow through with our intentions: 1. Know your history. 2. Define your terms—first. 3. What you need is there if you see it and have the courage to use it. 4. Embrace controversy. 5. Carpe the chaos. 6. Wear the shirt. 7. Create a movement. 8. Employ every medium. 9. Tell your story.I love these power tools. I think every woman should have them in her tool belt and swing them around during casual conversation.While the power tools are all wonderful, some of them are easier to follow than others, and they all take a high level of consciousness, persistence, and dedication to realize. Ms. Feldt knows that, and gives us an honest assessment of what it would take to use these tools, individually and collectively, to finally push women through the remaining barriers to equality.I especially love two of her points:Women need to embrace leadership. Throughout the book, Ms. Feldt gives examples of women, often en masse, who are on the verge of taking action but instead merely discuss a problem. I have often expressed frustration with the American tendency to discuss perspectives without taking necessary bold action, and I love it that Ms. Feldt calls women out for this tendency. When we meet to solve a problem, we need to identify the solution and take swift action to implement it. As the author puts it, “In rejecting domination, we mustn’t also reject effective and definitive action; we must have the intention necessary to get the results we want.” (p. 354)We need to take action even if some ducks aren’t in the row. The author emphasizes our need to simply act, using the Nike slogan of “Just do it.” In my own life, I’ve had to learn this lesson a few times—and each time I do, I am richly rewarded. I love these words from page 242 of the book: “Intention is not an either/or construct, but a continuum. Barriers to our ability to walk with intention through our lives range from those totally imposed from external sources to barriers fully embraced by women themselves. There are many points along the continuum, and the places in the middle cause the confusion, approach-avoidance of power, and cognitive dissonance. We could analyze this to death, but in the end, if women “just do it,” a new social reality will be constructed and that will change everything.”I also love the examples the author gives along the way—she profiles women who have taken their power-to and accomplished great things, both long ago and in the present. These women are all people of power and intention, and they are all inspiring.Although I agree with much of what Ms. Feldt says, I often found myself challenged by her ideas. As I was reading, I would think, “Yes, but…” or “What about…” Eventually, with an inward smile, I realized I was offering excuses. And the author let me know right away that excuses are not an option.That doesn’t mean the difficulties are fabricated, however. The one that presented itself most starkly to me is a chicken and egg dilemma: It is difficult to get a grip on your own power-to when you are struggling with the mess of a half-finished revolution. As Anne-Marie Slaughter recently highlighted, too many mothers are stretched beyond their limits as it is. And too many women of all ages are suffering from unconscious co-option, a problem Ms. Feldt discusses in detail. So we must find the strength—the power-to—overcome these dilemmas in the everyday dance of too much responsibility, too much patriarchy, and too little time.And yet it is exactly because we are in the middle of this half-finished revolution that we cannot leave the work undone. Those of us who are further along the path—as a consequence of good fortune, hard work, or a combination of the two—must blaze the trail forward. It is our right, our privilege, and our duty to do so. And reading No Excuses will give us the tools we need to finish the job.I highly recommend this book—read it, take its lessons to heart, and walk forward with me into controversy.more
- January 1, 1970CathrynFor the overall framework and messages this book sends, it is excellent. Gloria Feldt takes you through a potted history of developments in the US regarding female equality, and cites numerous examples to support her convictions on women seizing positive power and not shying away from it once they achieve it. She provides various tools and inspires and motivates you to drive forwards in continuing the campaign for equality. On the flip-side however, this is a completely American book, and all ex For the overall framework and messages this book sends, it is excellent. Gloria Feldt takes you through a potted history of developments in the US regarding female equality, and cites numerous examples to support her convictions on women seizing positive power and not shying away from it once they achieve it. She provides various tools and inspires and motivates you to drive forwards in continuing the campaign for equality. On the flip-side however, this is a completely American book, and all examples and history are American, bar a few exceptions. She also does ramble on in intricate detail, making this book very involved and long, when it could be a lot shorter. Her messages were great, but at times I almost blanked out due to the laborious writing style. However, worth a read, and definitely on track re beseeching women to drive forwards and push the boundaries until equality for all is achieved.more
- January 1, 1970Sherri Sue FisherI loved it! So many times we give up before we even try, by saying "we can't" Gloria challenges that belief and says, "Why Not?" Women need to be there for other women and this book and Gloria's efforts in 'Take The Lead' are heading us in the right direction. When we no longer ask a woman, "do you think you can do it all" and instead treat women as though they were just another person (male or female) in a position of authority and say "what are your plans to make it happen?" we will then have I loved it! So many times we give up before we even try, by saying "we can't" Gloria challenges that belief and says, "Why Not?" Women need to be there for other women and this book and Gloria's efforts in 'Take The Lead' are heading us in the right direction. When we no longer ask a woman, "do you think you can do it all" and instead treat women as though they were just another person (male or female) in a position of authority and say "what are your plans to make it happen?" we will then have equality.more
- January 1, 1970JennyThis book reminds me of our job as women to bring younger women along and to question the status quo on our society. I just read in the New York Times today, in fact, that women are NOT pulling ahead of men at all, and in some ways, we have stagnated or are falling behind. We still make less than men and still are not represented in many fields. We are still gender segregated. This book, though, is not like a novel where you sit down and read the whole thing. I'll pick it up again.more
- January 1, 1970JennyInspiring. Very American and focused (but no exclusively) on women and political office.Four good questions:1. What is happening?2. Why is it happening?3. What do you want to have happen?4. How are you going to make it happen?
- January 1, 1970HeidiI actually didn't finish reading this book-I lost interest after about a chapter or so and returned it. Perhaps I'm just not the target audience. I will say that it is quite well written.
- January 1, 1970TerriGreat book, lots of motivating discussions...
- January 1, 1970BeckyGloria Feldt is inspiring in this book about power. I wrote about it here: http://deepmuckbigrake.com/2010/10/24....
- January 1, 1970WenweThinking is a good thing and this makes me look at many more societal norms
- January 1, 1970ChelliGood read, empowering.
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