This article by Karryn Olson(-Ramanujan) was published in the “Permaculture Activist” magazine in August of 2013. This version is edited slightly, with longer captions, more pictures, and hyperlinks.
Click here for a pdf version of the article.
Also, you can listen to an interview about this topic on the Permaculture Podcast–look for the April 23, 2014 episode.
Also, after writing this article, I started compiling Best Practices to Support Women in Permaculture. Check them out–and you are invited to contribute to these living documents!
Though women receive the majority of all college degrees in the U.S., and are well represented in the work force, they are very under-represented in positions of high-level leadership. Most of the women I’ve encountered in permaculture note analogous patterns: often, women constitute 50% or more of the participants in PDCs, yet occupy disproportionately few of the positions of leadership and prominence in lucrative roles, such as designers, teachers, authors, speakers, or “permaculture superstars.”
To address this situation, this article drafts “A Pattern Language for Women in Permaculture.” Each pattern can be applied in many ways and names a core solution to a problem that undermines women’s full participation and leadership. Just as words connect to form a language, one can connect these patterns to form a language that describes good social design practices.
This approach is modeled after the book, A Pattern Language, by Christopher Alexander et al, in which the authors write, ”Each pattern may be looked upon as a hypothesis… and are therefore all tentative, all free to evolve under the impact of new experience and observation.” Using the same analogy, I invite your input to help craft this new language.
Read more here