Heather was my very first connection to women in Turkey as I set out to find folks who might be interested in talking with me about the role of women in global leadership – and in particular, what it is like to be a woman at this time in history in Turkey. I had googled something like “women in Turkey” and her blog, Feminist Activism popped up on my screen. I was startled, and intrigued. I was impressed with what I read. It was articulate, passionate. I subscribed.
Then I emailed Heather. “I am not an activist,” I remember stating clearly -“and I think we may have much in common!” Bless her. She responded and we stayed in touch as my plans materialized and our journey began. . . . . . And suddenly we were meeting “at the Clock Tower” in Antalya.
The Clock Tower – one of the many surviving or rebuilt structures reflecting the hundreds of generations that have called this place home. How uncanny that we would meet there – at the time I was struggling so to accept that perhaps women had never inspired such awe, had never been so valued as I had thought. It was time to look ahead. And here was Heather. Young, knowledgeable, educated, courageous, smart, passionate. One of her undergraduate majors was Women’s Studies. Plus she has a graduate degree in Gender and Peacebuilding from the University for Peace in Costa Rica. She shares that in her family (in the United States) intellectual development and expressing one’s opinions was encouraged.
This is a gift U.S. women have to offer the world. When safety, shelter, food, clean water, health care are much more available than in many parts of the world, when young women are encouraged to think, to express their own opinions, to develop all of their potential, when all of this is available – women have the precious opportunity to look beyond their immediate daily needs, to examine world issues, to learn of the work of other women and to build on that, to find those ways in which they can best contribute to creating a future that benefits all, not just themselves.
Heather met her partner, whom she describes as an “American Turk,” in San Diego. He had come to Austin, Texas from Turkey, and from there to San Diego. He, too, is an absolutely delightful individual. These two are now living in Antalya, Turkey, near his family. They took us to dinner, at a special restaurant where organic foods were served, for a delicious meal and great conversation.
Please do yourself a favor and check out Heather’s blog, www.feministactivism.com/ A recent post described a conference in which she participated, In Women’s Hands. The conference brought together women activists and organizers from Srebrenica and Sarajevo. Her most recent post, “Love Your Body Day.”