FOUR Ps

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Defining the 4 Ps

Before retirement, when teaching a Women and Education graduate course at the University of Calgary, I wanted a conceptual framework that encouraged an understanding of women’s issues from a holistic woman-centred perspective. It is not healthy or empowering to understand one’s social world only from a marginalized “other” stance. It’s necessary to celebrate achievements as well as to reduce inequities.

Gradually a quadrant approach evolved that helped sort our lived experiences into four dimensions: personal, professional, political and public. They could be viewed as dynamic kaleidoscopic patterns: reflecting the overlapping, beautiful, ever changing, dark and light vignettes of our lives. However, one could focus upon only one aspect or perhaps the relationships between two of the dimensions.

“Personal” is that dimension which emanates from within the individual and intimate relationships such as family and friends.

“Professional” is acquired expertise, usually based upon education, formal credentials and paid work.

“Political” is an arena in which contested issues are strategically addressed.

“Public” is an image, a recognition (or lack of it) by the community, the perception of the collective eye.

Any theme might be threaded through the quadrant. For example, “spirituality“ might be explored from a personal perspective (a insightful vision) but it might seem quite different when viewed professionally (ministerial responsibilities) or politically (the reproductive issue) and public (the maiden, the mother, the crone).

CUUWA has a national and international profile with respect to the personal, professional, political and public aspects of women’s lives and reflects the core denominational principles of the Canadian Unitarian Council. “ Our Mission statement resonates with possibilities. May it inspire all of us!

Betty Donaldson – chair, CUUWA – October, 2012.

(adapted from E.L. Donaldson, Preface, Coming of Age (pp5-6, 2004, Calgary: Detselig Enterrpises; recipient of the Alberta Centennial medal.)