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Dr. Theresa del Tufo is an organizational consultant, an author and has been a resident of Dover for more than 50 years. She just completed writing a collection of poems and is working on her seventh book on how to survive and thrive during tough times. She is the primary author of the 2021 book, “Women Powered! A New Paradigm of Influence & Equity.”
All creatures, big and small, have this instinctive and innate yearning to be free. Freedom is an inborn gift from the universe, and as humans, we have this authentic longing to choose our own destiny. As the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau asserts, “Man is born free, but he is everywhere in chains.”
Women’s struggle for freedom and equality
It has always intrigued me why women are treated as second-class citizens in the United States of America, the greatest bastion of freedom and democracy in the world. The disastrous defeat of a highly experienced and trained woman to an inexperienced, Machiavellian character of dubious integrity dealt a castrating blow to women’s fight for equality. Decades of struggle have not galvanized enough women — the “vital many” — to unite and claim power that could have resulted in enduring social change.
On June 24, 2022, the United States Supreme Court voted to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling that guaranteed women’s constitutional right to abortion. It’s ironic and disturbing that two of the justices who voted to overturn the ruling and deprived women of the right and freedom to choose — stripping away autonomy over their own bodies — are themselves alleged abusers of women (Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas). These tectonic shifts appear to simply be the beginning of an organized backward movement, depriving women of equal rights and social justice. I see the “Make America Great Again” slogan as simply a call to action among right-wing, conservative leaders to reclaim the White male dominance in this country.
Power and influence: the missing link
Power is the critical ingredient and the missing link in women’s struggle for equality and recognition. Although there have been giant steps towards gender parity, women still have major barriers to overcome to achieve a semblance of power and equality. My book, “Women Powered! A New Paradigm of Influence & Equity,” attempts to provide women with a roadmap for action on how to gain, exercise and keep power that’s both effective and ethical. It involves the acquisition and mastery of key character traits and core competencies that are critical in the acquisition and sustainability of leadership and power. It’s grounded in the principles of stewardship, moral courage and competencies that our leaders need to embody during these troubled times.
Character and competencies: the ‘Twin Towers’
The two major components of the new power model are character and competencies:
The incandescent joy at finding freedom
I have learned the most profound and insightful lessons about life and living from observing our pets and how they display their innermost feelings during emotionally charged moments. Our house rabbit, Hershey, levitates into the open space, twirls around and dances with youthful exuberance to express her unfettered joy and happiness for her newfound freedom. We rescued her from a pet sanctuary, where she was caged in for several years. Now, she is free to roam, to do her circular run or just sit and stay cool and relaxed, knowing that she’s free and safe. The instinctive and visceral feeling to be free is shared by all creatures. I can’t wait to experience and feel the transforming energy of freedom and the affirming power of safety in an inclusive world of radical abundance, where there’s enough of everything to go around, and I can be free to just be me.