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Women’s Work Is Never Done

Mar 08, 2010 — Categories: , ,

March 8 is International Women’s Day. So I was pleased this past week to be in New York City for events surrounding the 54th Annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Not only is women’s work never done, our agenda continues to expand.

March 8 is International Women’s Day. So I was pleased this past week to be in New York City for events surrounding the 54th Annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Not only is women’s work never done, our agenda continues to expand.

Hundreds of delegates to the UN Commission meeting and accompanying NGO meetings met from morning to night addressing concerns from education for girls to health care, economic development to armed conflict, violence against women to immigration and refugee status.

I had the opportunity to address the Religions for Peace: Global Women of Faith Network. [www.religionsforpeace.org]  My title was: “A Balm in Gilead: Restoring the Dignity of Women and Girls.” I will report more about this gathering in my webinar on March 24. [go to webinars on this website]  Religions for Peace is a multi-faith, global organization that has now taken up the issues of violence against women.

While at this gathering, I also met with the Ecumenical Women at the United Nations. [www.ecumenicalwomen.org]  This is an international Christian coalition of denominations and faith-based groups who advocate for gender equality at the UN.  This group is pressing the UN to “end the culture and practice of impunity: violence against women.” Their agenda specifically focusing on the global issues of violence against women includes holding perpetrators accountable, addressing sexual violence in war and conflict areas, and assessing the particular circumstances of women’s vulnerabilities to violence with an eye to rectifying this.

In both settings, the common discussion was the empowerment of women at the local level with information and resources to support each other and hold perpetrators accountable. This is the direction FaithTrust Institute is moving in our work with women of faith. More on this later.

The good news is that the issues of violence against women are much more visible on the global agenda than ever before. And even better news is that there were a large number of young women (and men) attending all these events and exhibiting strong leadership in carrying the work forward.

At the core of all questions and observations was the age old question, "how long, oh Lord?" As we women of faith all over the world continue to struggle with the painful and personal question of why do women and children suffer, we continue to work and anticipate the reign of God now in our everyday lives, never losing hope.

So I share with you the prayer from the Ecumenical Women that was first shared at the Beijing UN Conference on Women in 1995:

“O God, creator of the heavens and the earth, we pray for all who gather at the United Nations. Help them and us to see one another through eyes enlightened by understanding and compassion. Open our ears to the cries of a suffering world and the healing melodies of peace. Empower us to be instruments in bringing about Your justice and equality everywhere.”

Let us continue to pray for those now meeting at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and for all the work that each person stands for in their home countries.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

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