Who’s Bigger? Challenging Patriarchy in the Development of CCEDNet

May 27, 2014

Garry Loewen, in his reflections, noted that there was initially a sense that there was a little too much testosterone in the beginnings of CCEDNet.  He did not report (perhaps out of a sense of propriety) one example that I always chuckle about. 

We were in one of the first meetings and for an evening session we planned informal remarks from each participant that would help to introduce/orient each of us to each other. That evening we sat in a big circle, and one after another told a bit about our various organizations’ recent and past doings. Now, you’ve got to recognize that it was mostly men there, so in fact going around the circle meant that most of the guys had told their stories before it came to be a turn for one (or more) women to talk.  So it was that Carol Rock looked around the circle and commented in her wonderfully dry way, “Well, I guess we have all heard from each of you how much bigger your’s is than the other guys’.”

Oh, she was so right! The remarks had really taken on a bragging air! My guess is that (perhaps understandably) people (the guys) were rather unacquainted with each other and perhaps a bit insecure in this early meeting –  and so a bit of showing off….Anyway, she brought down the house! And ever after that the atmosphere was great and comradely. Thank you, Carol!!!

Honorary lifetime member of CCEDNet, Stewart is one of the pioneers of CED in the US and Canada, as both a policy adviser and a designer and manager of CED institutions. As head of the (U.S.) Center for Community Economic Development, he helped create the first finance institution for CED, the Massachusetts Community Development Finance Authority. He helped start Canada’s first community development corporation, New Dawn Enterprises, and headed the Community Economic Development Center in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. A consultant, researcher, and author, Stewart currently specializes in community and development finance as an associate with the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal.  

Read other stories gathered to celebrate CCEDNet’s 15th anniversary >>