This month comes in with a bang due to the Super Blue Moon Eclipse happening on January 31st in Leo. Think of this eclipse as your emotional pot boiling over. Things pertaining to relationships, whether personally or at work, finally come to a breaking point for lots of people.
It's an opportunity to lean into the positive emotional aspects of Leo which are courage, independence, self-esteem and fearlessness. In other words, it's a time to lead with your heart. This is easier for some than others.
Are you already living in a functional partnership or work environment built on passion and commitment? Then double down. If not, time to put your well-being first and make some changes.
(January 20- February 18)
“A Very Merry Unbirthday to You!" (Yes you, Aquarius!)
I love this month for the water bearers! With Mercury and Venus both in Aquarius, communication and love should be easier for you. The tribe around you finally understands your point of view, especially loved ones. It's also a good time to pitch that idea or start that company or project. Resources are flowing more than usual. Renovate something and make it more beautiful….it doesn't matter if it's your house, your wardrobe or your vision board. Watch overdoing alcohol, sweets or anything that distracts you from your emotions. This could be your best valentines day ever. Don't miss it because you were trying to communicate with aliens in your garage. February 23-24: take a trip.
(February 19- March 20)
“Come sail away..."
Congratulations Pisces! You survived the flame thrower of a Blue Moon on January 31st. Now you are feeling good in your own skin. Your emotions are strong but not running your show. They are fueling your desire to execute your plans with discipline and focus. You've got wind in your sails and a smile on your face. Don't look back. Keep your eye on the horizon. After February 11 you'll have the gift of gab. Feb 25-26: stay home and feather the nest.
(March 21- April 19)
“A little less conversation"
An Aries always wants a little more action and a little less talk. Not this month. This February is all about listening, discussing and dreaming. Encourage the qualities of democracy in your family, your company or on your team. Everyone's opinion matters. It's time to think about how to improve or reinvent yourself or something that you love. Because Venus will be in Pisces after February 11, extra patience with an emotional partner will be a necessity. Blow off steam by getting out and competing this month...whether in sports, business or HQ. You can win right now. Feb 28-29: good days for love.
(October 23- November 21)
“Snorkeling through your Waterloo"
Try to stay as calm as you can the first part of February. Emotions and frustrations will
be at times hard to manage. Just when you feel like you just can't take anymore, around
February 11 things shift into a much welcomed pink emotional cloud.
Don't be hard on yourself for the fact that not much work has been accomplished during this sentient rollercoaster. Let it go. You aren't that far behind. In fact, you are just resting up for a major move forward.
(April 20- May 20)
“'Twas brillig and the slithy toves..."
This month you may be feeling like you are not understanding what people are saying. Or if you do understand, you may feel like it's a bunch of jabberwocky. If you have a partner, you may not understand who they are right now. They are just being weird or different. Don't try to figure any of this out; just keep your head down and do your work, whatever that is. Set goals, create strategies, plan your power moves. Then go execute. You've got this. Feb 2-3: clean out your closets and reorganize.
(May 21- June 20)
“Go greased lightning"
This is such a turbo month for you. Everything goes faster than normal without losing any quality. You can do or think five things at once. Make a list of goals for February. Revisit them every day to stay focused. Clarity and energy like this shouldn't be scattered about with no direction. With Jupiter still in Libra at the first of the month, you still have luck on your side so get out there and go after it. You also have Cupid working on your behalf to help create one of your best Valentines Days ever. It is almost not fair how good this month could be for you. Enjoy!
Photo Courtesy of Nicolelapin
(June 21- July 22)
“Swimming in your own lane"
Let's get the tough stuff out the way first. Communication for you may be difficult this month. People close to you may seem too stubborn about their crazy visions and not grounded in the practical where you like to live. Please summon patience and just listen. You won't win these battles. On a positive note, productivity could be amazing for you as well as a keen sense of increased self-understanding. Stick to your list and your own self-improvement and you will see rewards. Feb 16-18: seek out music or theatre.
(July 23- August 22)
“If you can't say something nice"
Please please please watch what you say this February. The big full moon eclipse at the beginning of the month along with some other aspects all add up to mounting frustrations that do not need to be verbalized in haste. It's a great month to start or increase your workout regimen.
Also, many good inspirational visions or inventions could come to you. Write them down! You are an idea factory. Feb 19-20: have a good fight and then make up.
(August 23- September 22)
“I hear the mermaids singing"
How can you create an artist's retreat within that busy, buttoned-up schedule of yours? The answer is just do it. The muses are all within earshot; find a quiet place with a note pad and listen. They are singing inspiration to you. What's even more wonderful is that you have the ability to execute these visions more than ever before. Feb 6-7: good love. Feb 21-22: productivity.
(September 23- October 22)
“Putting off a scent"
It is time to do what you do best, dear Libra: attract. No one is better than you at making it look so effortless to be irresistible. This month all you have to do is show up. Conversation will be interesting, love interests will put you on a pedestal, and you will have boundless energy as well. Everyone will be eating out of your hand, so have mercy on us all. Feb 14-15: time to reveal your manifesto.
(November 22- December 21)
You have so many stars aligned right now. Even that big Leo moon that rained havoc down on everyone else smiled on you instead. Place your bets, buy a lottery ticket, take the risk, make the move...all before February 11. The clouds will start to gather then and a benevolent rain will come to dampen your parade. Feb 19-20: play to win and you will.
(December 22- January 19)
“A bird in the hand"
I always like to give the bad news first if I can. You don't really have luck on your side right now. The good news is that no one is more equipped to create their own luck through hard work than you dear Capricorn. Minimize risk, keep to the plan, stick to the health regimen and keep taking your own inventory. Notice those little moments where love creeps in to remind you that you are awesome; a child's hug, your dog's nuzzle, a thank you from a co-worker.
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.