Monday, March 4, 2013

Ecumenical Women Leading the Charge

Today I met some wonderful sisters from all over the world through the group Ecumenical Women. Ecumenical Women is an international coalition of church denominations and organizations, which have status with the Economic and Social Council at the United Nations.  The mission of this group, of which I feel very honored to be a member, trains and empowers individuals and various expanding network to advocate for gender equality at the United Nations. The work that this coalition has done is phenomenal.

However, we continue to sound the alarm, push the envelope, press the issues for individuals, who are marginalized or in the words of great theologian Howard Thurman those who feel disenfranchised, to have a voice and a choice.  We realize that there is so much work to be done.


“Our faith tradition teaches us that every human being is created in the image of God!” And, because we are created in that image, no one should be subjected to acts of violence that attempt to dampen or minimize who God has created each of us to be.

we worshipped,
we prayed
we sang,
we marched
we called names of sisters experiencing violent acts
we listened,
we  hugged,
we laughed
and some of us cried
BUT we ALL  pledged to fight.

The commonality between my sister from New Zeland, a sister from Ireland  and a sister from Keyna is that we ALL have  a passion to be a voice for the voiceless and bring awareness and advocacy to women and girls who are experiencing violence in their lives.

Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women     

We were honored to have Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women to give us a message of hope. She emphasized that "globally, 7 out of 10 women will suffer some kind of violence in their lifetime." She emphasized that there are 4 P’s to ending violence against women

We discussed the recommendations and the draft that will be presented to the UNCSW57 (United Nations 57th Commission on the Status of Women.

The discussions were intense, enlightening and informative.

Our discussions revolved around three primary recommendations:
·      Cultural, structural and economic violence are underlying factors that must be addressed
·      Education is a vital part of the change process, especially societal change.    Education must incorporate men and boys alongside women and girls
·      We must pay particular attention to the needs of rural and minority populations and improve their access to resources and services

After our discussion, we all participated in a silent march from 52nd street to 44th street to the United Nations Chapel. We held up the names of women who have experienced or are experiencing violence in their lives. 

The closing worship was spiritually powerful.  The worship team presented  I the story of the Daughter of Japheth which provided us with a clear understanding of how violence is pervasive in our faith traditions and our world.

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