You know about chimpanzees, of course, but most people have never heard of bonobos. These are our other distant cousins, equally related to us. They are small and shy, living in a small region of equatorial Africa. They share 98% of our DNA with us, and with chimps, but in bonobo society, the females come together to prevent males from dominating! The males still want to dominate, and they still try—but their bad behavior just gets shut down. When you hear of a sister in distress, get loud, show up, and support her!
What about people? Do we take after bonobos? Or chimps? Lately it’s seemed pretty chimpy out there. But human societies can actually go either way. We have a choice, and anthropological studies suggest we had far flatter and more equitable communities in the past. We had to! Without collective intelligence, sharing and solidarity, us puny furless humans would never have made it through the hard times. Our survival on this planet required it then, and it demands it now.
Collective Intelligence is powerful—we know it leads to better decisions, smarter innovation, and greater resilience. Women must be equally represented at the decision making table—for all our futures.
The Bonobo Revolution call to action is simple:
When you hear of a sister in distress, get loud, show up, and support her! It’s time to raise a ruckus! Recruit your sisters and brothers (we love you, guys!) and let’s raise awareness, raise our voices and raise hell together! The answers are within us—through solidarity, opportunity and equality.
Take the Bonobo pledge:
When you hear of a sister in distress, get loud, show up, and support her!
Dr. Tamsin Woolley-Barker is an Evolutionary Biologist, Innovation Consultant, and Biomimicry Professional with a doctorate in Evolutionary Anthropology from New York University. She was among the first cohort to receive the Biomimicry Masters degree from Arizona State University’s Biomimicry Center, where she now serves as Adjunct Professor. Her book TEEMING: How Superorganisms Work to Build Infinite Wealth in a Finite World is an a #1 Amazon Bestseller in Organizational Learning, Environmental Economics, Ecology, and Animal Behavior—testament to its interdisciplinary nature. The book has been read on every continent and is entering its second printing.
Krista is our CSO—that’s Chief of Style and Strategy—and fearless Podcast host. She packs a diverse professional punch (personal development, psychology, philanthropy, and medicine) and serves as mom to three adulting people. She loves radical conversations with young people more than anyone we know! Whether it’s sponsoring sister entrepreneurs and leaders in developing countries, or supporting local women in need, Krista is always fiercely passionate about women’s empowerment. When she’s not planning the Revolution, Krista is most likely found behind the wheel of her car, touring the greater SoCal freeway landscape or taking long beach walks with her German Shepherd.
Reach out, raise your hands, and join the Bonobo Revolution!
During the 2016 election campaign, and when the #MeToo revelations were coming out so relentlessly, everyday felt like a collective assault. It’s a real kick in the skirt to realize that no, women really are not equally safe and valued, at any level of society. And…here comes another election cycle!
Dr. Tamsin, primatologist, anthropologist, author of TEEMING, and Principal at TEEM Innovation Group—was dismayed to hear so many stories from up-and-coming paleoanthropologist women of how their promising careers had been run off the rails by assault and harassment from men holding power over their work. The old guard seemed like alpha male chimpanzees, taking whatever they wanted. But, as women began speaking out together, the tables quickly turned. She designed her own Bonobo Revolution t-shirt for the Women’s March, and found a whole community of women and men who want to share the bonobo way! She needed someone passionate about equality, clear-eyed about the realities women face, and smart about style to propel this idea into a full-blown revolution! She knew just the woman for the job…
Krista Nordstrom is a parent, a personal stylist, and our Bonobo Revolution CSO (Style and Strategy). She’s also been Dr. Tamsin’s dear friend for three decades—ever since the first day of college. 3 weddings, 7 kids, 2 funerals, 2 divorces, and countless other celebrations and heartbreaks later, these two know the value of girlfriends!
I’ve always been passionate about fashion and women’s empowerment. I’ve worked with survivors of rape and domestic violence and experienced these terrors first-hand. When Dr. Tamsin asked me to spearhead Bonobo Revolution, ‘Yes!’ was all I could say.
Right now there is a lot of momentum for empowering women and girls, breaking beauty standards, speaking out against sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual discrimination, promoting equal pay and closing gender gaps in leadership. It’s all very exciting. But the one thing I keep coming back to is the reality that progress can only go so far when women are not safe to navigate it. When women are filtered out of careers or held at lower-level jobs because of sexual discrimination, harassment, and assault, when they are silenced and shamed, their opportunities are literally cut off at the knees. That’s not a trivial problem, because we know that the one leverage point for improving the quality of life for society is increased education and opportunity for women.
I pledge to join voices with other women and supportive men to insist on safety for women and girls!