In 2009, Role Reboot co-founder Fran Rodgers was asked to teach a course on Women’s Movements Past and Future at Tufts University. Fran wanted to make sure that her course was relevant to a younger generation, and enlisted Morra Aarons-Mele as her partner in developing the course. The original version of the curriculum they created can be found here.
As they prepared the college course, however, Fran and Morra realized that with every new reading they were moved to act, and began to feel a sense of awakening and responsibility to help create change among men and women. They became interested in doing something bigger than one college course. They thought about the millions of American women who get together each month for book clubs. They thought of TV shows like The View, where women meet each day to hash over current events and issues. They decided to convert the curriculum into a format for small groups, and tested it out using printed “course packs,” with an intergenerational discussion group of women in Boston.
The discussion group in Boston was a success. But what next? Fran asked her daughter Nicole to help. Nicole loved the discussion group idea, but worried that a curriculum which felt academic might limit the potential audience they could reach. Nicole wanted to bring a feminist sensibility to modern debates without relying too heavily on second-wave authors and discussions. Eventually, the three women determined that what they wanted was an online space for thought leadership about how gender roles are changing which offered a way for people to get involved in discussions through engagement with multi-media content that was current, accessible and provocative. Over many months, and countless discussions, the idea for Role/Reboot was born.
All three women believe that each generation must remake the world and its culture as they see it. Gender roles and relations are at an exciting but confusing juncture where true partnership between men and women is becoming increasingly possible, yet there are crosscurrents that undermine us all. Men, for instance, are confused about where they fit as workers, lovers, husbands and fathers. Fran, Nicole and Morra saw the need for a place to begin making sense of these massive changes.
Role Reboot was created in the grand tradition of sewing circles, consciousness-raising groups and book clubs that have engaged women throughout our history.
History is made one conversation at a time.