Marianne Williamson, author on 12 books on mindfulness, healing and love and a champion of female power, said she’s old enough to remember a time when men like her father used to say women shouldn’t be lawyers.
But now that women are lawyers and have power, she said, we need to have “the most important conversation, and that’s what to do with it.”
Williamson was the headliner for the third annual Present and Powerful Speaker Series, held at the 2019 American Bar Association Midyear Meeting in Las Vegas, co-sponsored by the ABA Solo, Small Firm and General Practice Division and the Law Practice Division.
Williamson is an internationally acclaimed author and lecturer. Her 12 books – including seven New York Times best sellers – focus on spirituality and self-empowerment. Her newest book, “A Politics of Love: Handbook for a New American Revolution,” will be published in 2019. She has appeared on “Oprah,” “Good Morning America” and “Real Time with Bill Maher,” among other TV shows.
“It’s not an accident that women were not invited in [to the room where the powerbrokers gather], and they had to do more than politely knock” to get in, she said.
But once in the room, Williamson said, women were sent the message that ‘well, okay you’re in, but now you have to tow the line.’
“Women are not just here to get power, women are here to help balance the world,” she said. “A balanced world works differently from an unbalanced world. A balanced world does not stand for injustice. A balanced world does not stand for oppression.”
As women attain power, she said, “let us not lose our 'juice' at the door.”
Williamson, who announced on Jan. 29 that she is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president, said she is a product of the feminism of the 1970s, but came to realize that there was a flawed strain in it.
“We unknowingly suppressed in certain ways the feminine in the name of feminism,” she said. Women took on “masculine characteristics” and “patriarchal perspectives” in the name of the power they felt they had achieved.
She warned against sacrificing humanity for power, and said our system is neither human or humane enough.
Williamson said the children of the U.S need women to use their clout for them, and it’s even better if she’s a lawyer. Noting that a characteristic of “every advanced mammalian species that survives and thrives” is “the fierce behavior of the adult female of that species that senses a threat to her cubs,” she said surely human females could do better in protecting their children.
Saying that we have allowed our nation’s principles to become “quaint sayings,” Williamson warned that if the United States doesn’t “course correct, and quickly, and find it’s way back to the higher principles of justice and ethics and morality, without which everything falls into chaos, then those systems will create their own repudiation.”
In the United States, she said, “it is too easy to get justice when you have, and too easy to be at the effect of injustice when you have not.”
Lawyers have the power of the law to choose what kinds of cases and clients they take, she said, and “the primary power is the power of our hearts.”
Unfortunately, she said, too many women lost their “audacity” and “juice” once they got into the “room,” and instead women “should be the lifeblood of a new humanity” and use their careers for justice.
When women use their diplomas for power and money, “that means you’ve been co-opted – that doesn’t mean you’ve been liberated,” she said, and urged women to use their powers for purposes of love and to “don’t forget your deep humanity.”
Williamson was joined on the podium by Natalie Runyon, director and head of talent platform at Thomson Reuters, who offered insight on “Elevating the Call for Women: How to Say Yes and How to Get Started.”