Summer is here! Gemini will be our star in June and we all need the Twins' sense of humor and sense of play to help us get through some of the heavier transits this month. Mars squares Venus around the 14th and directly squares on June 20-21 so everyone needs to look out for lover's quarrels on these days. Don't worry...we'll all make up by the end of the month with Venus in Leo. June typically means the start of vacations or downtime so I'm giving everyone some leisure ideas based on their sign!
May 21- June 20
“What goes up must come down."
This June will be a seesaw for Geminis with stops and starts, ups and downs, laughter and tears. Thank goodness this is how most Gemini's live anyway...in the world of duality. With Mars in Aquarius your energy and creative inspiration is flowing. You have the fortitude right now to keep trudging towards your goals. On June 6-7, watch what you say and how you say it. Are you really being truthful? Even to yourself? Stringent self awareness and disciplined authenticity is crucial for you his month. Dismount your high horse and get to work in your creative studio, wherever that space is to you. Best vacay: Theatre workshop.
"June typically means the start of vacations or downtime so I'm giving everyone some leisure ideas based on their sign!"
June 21- July 22
“Reap what you sow."
I am loving your ability to communicate this month, especially after June 12. Communication comes in all forms, including but not limited to speaking, writing, singing, photography and any other kind of art form. This is especially important to note on June 19-20 when your thoughts are like seeds being sown into a magically fertile ground. Don't waste this time. Revisit your list of goals or create a vision board. The intentions that you communicate to yourself or others are more powerful than ever. You have been batted about recently beyond your control. It's time to take back the wheel. Where do you want to go? Best vacay: anywhere near water with good food and family.
July 23- August 22
“The fishes and the loaves"
This has been a tough couple of months for you. The perpetual hill that you've been climbing seems to be getting steeper and steeper. I'm going to give you two pieces of advice to handle these challenges then I'm going to give you some good news. First, when it comes to where you are spending your energies-put others first. It's not about you right now. What do you have to give? Who needs it most? Selfishness will backfire this month. Also, many Leo's are having Dad issues right now ( Leo Meghan Markle anyone?). Other Leo's should take Meghan's lead...if you can't control it then don't engage, make a neutral statement and move on.
Here's the good news: your selflessness attracts love like bees to flowers this month, especially after June 14. Best vacay: Romantic and grand...go big and leave home.
August 23- September 22
“The birds and the bees"
You're still enjoying a power position but your energy is starting to feel very scattered. My advice...go online. Do the extra research, join an online community that shares your interests or goals or even play a video game. I'm serious. Cyberspace is where you will get traction and solace right now from the proverbial “salt mine" that you toil in everyday. The first half of the month has good love for you. In the second half you may find that you can't juggle all the bees that have flocked to your honey. Best vacay: Stay home and organize.
September 23- October 22
“Friends, Romans, countrymen..."
Make the speech, the pitch or publish your manifesto June 1-12. All Libras have a silver tongue but it is especially sparkly during the first half of the month. My favorite gift that the stars bring you this month is ENERGY. You will have mornings where you jump out of bed. You will not just feel inspired, you will take action to make things change. This is all good news because your workload is still a burden. It will be for awhile. That's ok. Have fun counting the bounty you will earn when this time of labor is over. Oh, and by the way, go easy on your dad. Best vacay: go visit a fashion week in a glamorous city.
October 23- November 21
“Talk to the hand"
This month your ideas and ways of doing things will be challenged. What is the normal Scorpio response to opposition? Crush the resistance. I am going to save you and the people that will challenge you some heartache. Please just listen to your naysayers. These ideas aren't a threat, they are glimpses of the future. You are being called to get out of your comfort zone. Respond to the nudge in a favorable way and magic can happen. Remember what it felt like to dream? It's not too late. Best vacay: scuba diving somewhere deep.
November 22- December 21
“Onward and upward"
This month is a party for the inventors. Sagittarius likes invention because it's about taking risks and disrupting old ways of doing things. Sagittarius also likes a good race or competition. There is a race this month but it's not against anyone, it is for the world. It's a call to run towards the cutting edge of where humanity is going. Have I lost most of you? I haven't lost Sagittarius...they love the big ideas. See you at the finish line with all the Aquarians! Best vacay: make a hike out of an historic march in a foreign land.
"It's not about you right now. What do you have to give? Who needs it most? Selfishness will backfire this month."
December 22- January 19
“Lead with the heart"
First I want to say it's ok to cry. Especially after June 13th. You aren't used to showing your feelings and being vulnerable. The second half of this month will coax these feelings out of you. It's a wonderful catharsis that you have needed after your work marathon over the last couple of months. With power and high position comes great responsibility. This month you have the secret sauce of successful leadership, strength with vulnerability. Housekeeping note: are you unloading some of your real estate holdings during this sellers market? It's a good idea. Best vacay: Capricorn's don't take vacay.
January 20- February 18
“And they're off!"
You are on the move and ready to take the steps to really get to where you want to be. It will not be easy and it will feel too slow for you but you will be moving in a forward direction. Reminder: you are an earthling and you have to understand earthly parameters of business and money matters. Your crazy dreams are what the world needs but you have to follow at least SOME of the rules to get what you want. Especially right now...the more you fight these truths the more you will be knocked down. Be humble and lean into this momentum. Best vacay: space simulation workshop.
February 19- March 20
“Rock a bye baby"
Have you ever sung a lullaby to a grown adult? This is kind of what you will be doing with some of your communication this month. You need to NURTURE others with your words. You can bring a calming effect to your relationships if you just set this intention. Embrace those that see you as a mother or parent figure, even if it's annoying. Remember that they are just responding to the energy that you are putting off however subconscious it is. Check your reality with others during this long Neptune transit. When people say you don't see something the right way listen to them. Best vacay: any music or theatre outdoors.
March 21- April 19
“Keeping The Home Fires Burning"
I'm excited about your love relationship after June 14. You may see a spark in the ashes that have been cold for a while. The second half of the month could also bring more money or creative ideas for business.
With Saturn still in Capricorn in retrograde it's a bad time to invest in Real Estate but a good time to renovate or invest wisely (not extravagantly) in property that you already own. When Mars goes retrograde in Aquarius on June 27th it's time to quit dreaming and get back to work. Best vacay: train for a competition and travel there to participate.
April 20- May 20
How do you self medicate? Too much work? Alcohol? Food? Sex? Sleep? Exercise? Many of our Taurus friends indulge in ALL OF THE ABOVE. They just go from one compulsion to the other. The scary part is that a Taurus can have the stamina to withstand an unhealthy loop for longer than others. This month presents a slippery slope for you that creates the perfect environment for addictive behaviors. You know what you indulge in. Self love is about moderation. Care for yourself this month with gentleness. Best vacay: head to the woods.
Women of the Middle East have made significant strides in the past decade in a number of sectors, but huge gaps remain within the labor market, especially in leadership roles.
A huge number of institutions have researched and quantified trends of and obstacles to the full utilization of females in the marketplace. Gabriela Ramos, is the Chief-of-Staff to The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an alliance of thirty-six governments seeking to improve economic growth and world trade. The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
To realize the possibilities, attention needs to be directed toward the most significantly underutilized resource: the women of MENA—the Middle East and North African countries. Educating the men of MENA on the importance of women working and holding leadership roles will improve the economies of those nations and lead to both national and global rewards, such as dissolving cultural stereotypes.
The OECD reports that increasing participation in the women's labor force could easily result in a $12 trillion jump in the global GDP by the year 2025.
In order to put this issue in perspective, the MENA region has the second highest unemployment rate in the world. According to the World Bank, more women than men go to universities, but for many in this region the journey ends with a degree. After graduating, women tend to stay at home due to social and cultural pressures. In 2017, the OECD estimated that unemployment among women is costing some $575 billion annually.
Forbes and Arabian Business have each published lists of the 100 most powerful Arab businesswomen, yet most female entrepreneurs in the Middle East run family businesses. When it comes to managerial positions, the MENA region ranks last with only 13 percent women among the total number of CEOs according to the Swiss-based International Labor Organization (ILO.org publication "Women Business Management – Gaining Momentum in the Middle East and Africa.")
The lopsided tendency that keeps women in family business—remaining tethered to the home even if they are prepared and capable of moving "into the world"—is noted in a report prepared by OECD. The survey provides factual support for the intuitive concern of cultural and political imbalance impeding the progression of women into the workplace who are otherwise fully capable. The nations of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Jordan and Egypt all prohibit gender discrimination and legislate equal pay for men and women, but the progressive-sounding checklist of their rights fails to impact on "hiring, wages or women's labor force participation." In fact, the report continues, "Women in the six countries receive inferior wages for equal work… and in the private sector women rarely hold management positions or sit on the boards of companies."
This is more than a feminist mantra; MENA's males must learn that they, too, will benefit from accelerating the entry of women into the workforce on all levels. Some projections of value lost because women are unable to work; or conversely the amount of potential revenue are significant.
Elissa Freiha, founder of Womena, the leading empowerment platform in the Middle East, emphasizes the financial benefit of having women in high positions when communicating with men's groups. From a business perspective it has been proven through the market Index provider MSCI.com that companies with more women on their boards deliver 36% better equity than those lacking board diversity.
She challenges companies with the knowledge that, "From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies."
Freiha agrees that educating MENA's men will turn the tide. "It is difficult to argue culturally that a woman can disconnect herself from the household and community." Her own father, a United Arab Emirates native of Lebanese descent, preferred she get a job in the government, but after one month she quit and went on to create Womena. The fact that this win-lose situation was supported by an open-minded father, further propelled Freiha to start her own business.
"From a business level, you can have a potential of 63% by incorporating the female perspective on the executive team and the boards of companies." - Elissa Frei
While not all men share the open-mindedness of Freiha's dad, a striking number of MENA's women have convincingly demonstrated that the talent pool is skilled, capable and all-around impressive. One such woman is the prominent Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid bin Sultan Al-Qasimi, who is currently serving as a cabinet minister in the United Arab Emirates and previously headed a successful IT strategy company.
Al-Qasimi exemplifies the potential for MENA women in leadership, but how can one example become a cultural norm? Marcello Bonatto, who runs Re: Coded, a program that teaches young people in Turkey, Iraq and Yemen to become technology leaders, believes that multigenerational education is the key. He believes in the importance of educating the parent along with their offspring, "particularly when it comes to women." Bonatto notes the number of conflict-affected youth who have succeeded through his program—a boot camp training in technology.
The United Nations Women alongside Promundo—a Brazil-based NGO that promotes gender-equality and non-violence—sponsored a study titled, "International Men and Gender Equality Survey of the Middle East and North Africa in 2017."
This study surveyed ten thousand men and women between the ages of 18 and 59 across both rural and urban areas in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the Palestinian Authority. It reports that, "Men expected to control their wives' personal freedoms from what they wear to when the couple has sex." Additionally, a mere one-tenth to one-third of men reported having recently carried out a more conventionally "female task" in their home.
Although the MENA region is steeped in historical tribal culture, the current conflict of gender roles is at a crucial turning point. Masculine power structures still play a huge role in these countries, and despite this obstacle, women are on the rise. But without the support of their nations' men this will continue to be an uphill battle. And if change won't come from the culture, maybe it can come from money. By educating MENA's men about these issues, the estimated $27 trillion that women could bring to their economies might not be a dream. Women have been empowering themselves for years, but it's time for MENA's men to empower its women.