It's 2016, so why are women still treated as second class citizens? That's the question asked by Dr Winfried Sedhoff in his new book, The Fall and Rise of Women.
Dr Sedhoff says that unrealistic expectations thrust upon women to be everything to everyone all at once - mothers, workers, parents, and carers - has created a plethora of issues and leaves many unable to reach their true selves. In the book Dr Sedhoff looks at how different cultures treat women and the sociological effects, and shows readers:
why women are often treated poorly simply for being a woman, and what you can do to change that
how to build meaningful friendships with other women and be supported
simple things you can do to make your relationships closer, satisfying and stable, by better meeting the friendship needs of your partner, and vice versa
how to create a balanced life, calm your mind, improve your mental health, and increase your wisdom, tolerance, & compassion
ways to enhance your spirituality, connect with nature, uncover sources of peace, strength and focus
how to connect with your authentic self, and be a better parent and carer
Thought provoking and empowering, The Fall and Rise of Women shows how to regain your transformational power, improve your life, and help change the world.
Winfried Sedhoff is a physician with a special interest in mental health. Born in Germany he grew up in Albury, NSW and graduated medicine from the University of New South Wales in 1987. In his early twenties and barely two years after graduating, having endured many years of intermittent depression - especially at high school and university - Winfried suffered a life threatening personal crisis. Forsaking all he believed, including a promising specialised medical career, he spent twelve months in self-imposed isolation in a small rental unit in Sydney and began an internal quest to find himself, and a sense of unquestionable truth. His success has allowed him to create a life that has been both personally satisfying and feels his own. He no longer suffers depression. Over twenty years later his personal realisations form the foundation of models and ideas that are successfully helping patients overcome depression and anxiety, and develop a true and honest sense of authentic self.
The Fall and Rise of Women
Author: Winfried Sedhoff
Question: What inspired you to write The Fall and Rise of Women?
Winfried Sedhoff: Two things inspired me the most:
Firstly, the way so many women are treated so appallingly. I see it regularly in my work; the tragic stories of women being abused, treated as sex objects, bullied, neglected, ignored, and left without supports – especially mothers. Many women are struggling, and suffering badly. This needs to change.
Secondly, as I began looking to the long-term future I couldn't see us living satisfying, meaningful, and peaceful lives without authentic women playing a prominent and major role.
The caring and nurturing that has been the guiding force in the hearts of women for millennia just isn't valued much anymore. The negative impact of this is seeing relationships fail, families tearing themselves apart, communities fracture, and destruction of the natural world on an unprecedented scale. The more I looked to understand the hearts of men and women the more I had to conclude our greatest hope for a better, balanced, life and world, rests in empowering authentic women. The oppression and disrespect of women needs to end for the sake of all of us, and the world.
Question: How are women treated as second class citizens?
Winfried Sedhoff: Many women still aren't paid the same for the same work, have to fight to be heard and contribute, and often aren't taken as seriously as men in similar positions. They are regularly cat-called and abused on our streets, objectified in our media to the point of contempt, and disrespected in our governments – we even had a female Prime Minister publically denigrated for being a woman! Women around the world are still being treated like property, sold into sexual slavery, or kept uneducated and away from positions of power and influence. This is not how we treat equals, or those we value highly.
Question: What do you hope women take from The Fall and Rise of Women?
Winfried Sedhoff: Firstly, I hope that women might consider that in a world of struggle and despair, of inequality and suffering, that women true to their hearts are best placed to make a real, and positive, difference.
Secondly, that women can have power, influence, live satisfying, fulfilling, and meaningful lives, and still be true to their deepest womanly desires – be authentic. They don't have to – and should never have to – act or behave like men to gain respect, or feel valued and worthwhile.
I hope women might begin to see – as they once did in many ancient tribes – how deeply important they are to the betterment of us all. Not by trying to be the person other's, or society, says they should be but rather by being true to themselves – true to their hearts and spirit.
Question: How can we change the way women are being treated?
Winfried Sedhoff: It is hard to see women being truly valued and respected – treated better in the long term – until caring and nurturing becomes far more important. Yes, education can be beneficial – teaching boys and girls to respect each other when they are young can help – but whilst we regard accumulating wealth, prestige, and power of primary importance anyone taking on caring and nurturing roles – such as stay at home mums – will continue to be looked down upon; their views and opinions with be regarded as less worthy. This implied inferiority, while it remains, can be expected to forever predispose women to being abused, disrespected, and oppressed – we don't tend to treat valued equals with disdain or contempt. We can begin to change the way we treat women – in a definitive way – by changing our priorities.
Question: How can we connect with our authentic self?
Winfried Sedhoff: Connecting with our authentic self is essentially listening more to us – what we feel deep inside – and less to others.
There is a part of us we can tap into that we sometimes give names like our -instinct', -intuition', or -gut feel'. It knows who we truly are and what we honestly need, independent of anyone else's influence or opinion. This part of us doesn't speak in words; it communicates with feelings and images. With practice we can learn to listen to it, even converse with it so it can guide us towards realizing what will most satisfy us. It can even help us choose a passionate career, compatible partner, or overcome our deepest fears and emotional pains. Unfortunately, most of us are too busy in life – and in mind – to truly listen to it, or have never bothered to learn how to use it. I call this seat of our authenticity our Inner Self. We can all improve our lives in a way that feels honest and true by learning to connect more with it. We can also increase our authenticity through our creativity, such as self-expression through painting, dancing, playing music, singing, cooking, gardening, writing, or sculpting, so long as it is done without trying to impress others – as if no one would ever see or notice it. Connect with our creative side and explore it, away from the expectations of others, and we begin to connect with the seat of our desires and feelings, just not necessarily on as deep and practical a level as connecting with the source more directly – communicating straight with our Inner Self.
The Fall and Rise of Women
Author: Winfried Sedhoff
Interview by Brooke Hunter