'That Connection, It's Empowering': StorySistas Gather For International Women's Day
“We connect and empower women 50+ through stories,” says Mahani Zubedy. The organization she founded, StorySistas, is a group of women who regularly gather together to share stories from their lives.
“I think what’s special about StorySistas is that we are all there to support,” Zubedy says. “It’s about sharing and connecting… we’ve been doing this for five years, and I can say every story connects on some level with everyone. Because we’ve had the same history – fifty years, we’ve all shared the same history.”
The next meeting of the group will celebrate International Women’s Day. They’ll meet up a couple days early, on March 6, to share stories around a unifying theme. “This time around, we are exploring women aging positively and powerfully,” Zubedy says. “Aging – everyone’s doing it. At the same time, for all of us, it’s a new frontier. We’ve not been there. We don’t know what it’s like. We have ideas, we have some examples. We have some examples of how we don’t want to age, [but] we need more positive and powerful examples.”
In pre-Covid times, the women of StorySistas would meet in person, but that’s not how things are done anymore. “Of course it’s going to be through Zoom,” Zubedy says of the March 6 gathering. One benefit of the Zoomification of the event is that their International Women’s Day celebration will truly be international.
“Women from Austin, Washington, Minneapolis, New York, London, and Malaysia [will participate],” Zubedy says. “So the lady in London, it’ll be 6 PM her time, and the storyteller from Malaysia is going to wake up at 2 AM to tell the story, so I am so excited.”
Dede Hurson found StorySistas when she was looking for things to keep her occupied in retirement. “About two years ago, I went to my first StorySistas meeting and had my very nervous debut,” she says with a laugh. She’s looking at the silver lining in a virtual version of the usual gathering. “One factor is taken out – you’re not standing in front of a group of people.”
Hurson will be one of the local Austin storytellers taking part in the International Women’s Day celebration, and Ramona Wilson will be another. “I’ve always told stories, even as a little girl,” Wilson says. “So I love StorySistas.”
“Feeling that connection, it’s empowering,” Zubedy says. “It really feels great.”