Rebecca Sive’s mission is to encourage ordinary women to join the public sphere and to pursue their dreams of justice and equality. Sive believes that including women’s voices and the voices of other marginalized people will offer more opportunities to achieve justice and equality.
Rebecca Sive has an extensive history in the public sphere. She has been appointed to public commissions, such as the Illinois Human Rights Commission; developed women’s issues agendas for Presidents Clinton and Obama; founded and worked with nonprofits; lectured; and has written three books.
Every Day is Election Day: A Woman’s Guide to Winning Any Office, from the PTA to the White House. 2013
Vote Her In: Your Guide to Electing Our First Woman President. 2018
- Make Herstory Your Story: Your Guided Journal to Justice Every Day for Every Woman. 2022
Each book is designed to motivate and inspire women to take charge of not only their own lives but to think BIGGER as to what they want to see in public policy, and then to pursue it.
While Sive is motivational and inspirational, she is also intensely practical. As she writes, “Making great speeches isn’t a substitute for knowing who your voters are and getting them to turn out on Election Day. Believing in worthy causes isn’t a substitute for sensible policy solutions.” (1: 5).
WWHP’s mission to preserve and promote the stories of women who have worked for justice and equality complements Sive’s passion. Currently, WWHP is
- planning an event to argue that care – of children, the elderly, and the disabled – belongs as social infrastructure and to introduce some women who do the work
- working with a Chicago woman who fought successfully to revive a Chicago city bus route to plan an event on the importance of public transportation and to honor women working towards that goal
- part of a group that has planned to erect a statue in Chicago of Mother Jones, the legendary labor organizer.
In 2020 and 2021 WWHP, with others, produced an event on the typically-ignored historical role of African Americans in the suffrage movement and produced 3 webinars featuring Chicago women speaking about progressive women and political values.
In this election year of 2022, WWHP decided the time was right to publish some of Sive’s advice and wisdom. She has generously allowed WWHP to select excerpts from her books. Each quotation is followed by book number and page number.
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“Our first step in this great journey to achieving justice for every woman and girl begins with imagining the place you want to be at the end of your journey—imagining how Your Story will read. What do I want to have achieved for myself; for other women, for girls? What are the steps I need to take to achieve this goal? Who will I need-and-want-by my side as I make this journey to making Herstory? What new skills do I want to have once I’ve made this journey?” 3:1
“You have to go with your strength to win, even if your strength is generally perceived as a negative quality.” For example, being considered ‘argumentative.’ “. . . [M]ake the best of it . . . Say “I speak frankly because I care so much. I would be remiss on behalf of my organization, or constituents and others who suffer just like them, if I weren’t.” 1:76-77
“The louder you speak, the more people will hear you—and, therefore, the more people will be able to consider what you have to say and even join your project. Using your outside voice is a good way to quickly gather others around you who also care deeply about the project you’re imagining. It tells them you value your work.” 3:8
“Volunteering is a misnomer—anything you devote time to is work, whether you get paid or not. When deciding whether or not to volunteer, you assess your need or desire to do the work.” 1:109
“It’s inevitable that while you are organizing you will be asked to compromise . . . . You have the absolute right, as well as the responsibility, to determine whether the compromise you’re being asked to make is sensible, or not. . . . If you are asked to modify your organizing plan, remember to state your response in as compelling and definitive language as possible.” 3:74
“A truth of organizing for social justice is that it’s possible to become self-righteous; to believe that the only truth is your truth is the only truth and, therefore, not respect the existence of your opposition. But that’s not wise. . . . That’s where ‘respect existence’ comes in. This idea doesn’t mean respecting reprehensible views or hate-filled actions, but it does mean respecting allies who have alternate strategies for achieving common goals.” 3:76
“In your organizing, think about how you can engage as many women as possible in every aspect of the project. . . . [T]hink about the importance of publicizing your commitment to working with women and increasing their presence in jobs that have previously been predominantly held by men.” 3:82
“Develop personal relationships with as many of the leaders of each constituency as you can. Once you’ve developed those relationships, show up for each of those leaders as often as you can.” 1:25
“If you aren’t winning on all your issues, frame your progress like a ball player: talk about how you’re succeeding one hit at a time. That’s how you will win the game.” 1:124