You are currently browsing the monthly archive for October 2008.

Note:  this prayer was used on September 25, 2008 at an Interfaith Service of Recommitment and Witness to the Achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, at The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City, NY.

Prayers for the Millennium Development Goals

In the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals, let us pray that god’s justice and peace will prevail in the World.

Leader:  Let us pray for the poor, hungry, and neglected all over the world, that their cries for daily bread may inspire woks of compassion and mercy among those to whom much has been given.
People:  Give us the will to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.

Leader:  Let us pray for schools and centers of learning throughout the world, for those who lack access to basic education, and for the light of knowledge to blossom and shine in the lives of all God’s people.
People:  Give us the will to achieve universal primary education. Read the rest of this entry »

News that Ecumenical Women constituents might find interesting, from all around the world.

Have a news story to share?  Email alison AT ecumenicalwomen DOT org.

Preparations for the upcoming United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) are well underway. Earlier this month, the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women convened an Expert Group Meeting on the priority theme for 2009.

The 2009 CSW will consider the theme “Equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS.” This theme was explored with shared research and practical experience, resulting in background papers, expert papers and an online discussion amongst civil society.

In particular, I highlight the role of faith based communities that arose in the papers and online discussions. Of nine expert papers and four background papers, only one background paper mentioned the role of religious stakeholders. This reference was specifically related to address issues of “attitudes and stereotypes” regarding gender roles in society.

Read the rest of this entry »

Idealist.org, a website where people and non-profits can connect and share ideas, recently released a podcast highlighting a faith-based organization called the Poverty Initiative.

What’s interesting about the podcast, while the Poverty Initiative does admirable work, is the second half — the part where the organizers explain their methods of exegeting the Bible.  In particular, they deconstruct the Bible verses that state “the poor with be with you always” and show how – rather than being a barrier to working against poverty – Christians can reinterpret this passage to act as an impetus for anti-poverty justice work.

Curious?  Give it a listen.

The World Bank in collaboration with the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recently launched the Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook. The Sourcebook contains 30 detailed case studies and over 300 highlighted projects sharing gender mainstreaming knowledge on a range of development interventions in agriculture from rural infrastructure to education.

In describing the sourcebook, the World Bank released an apt statement:

Women play a vital role as agricultural producers and as agents of food and nutritional security. Yet relative to men, they have less access to productive assets such as land and services such as finance and extension. A variety of constraints impinge upon their ability to participate in collective action as members of agricultural cooperative or water user associations. In both centralized and decentralized governance systems, women tend to lack political voice.

Gender inequalities result in less food2 being grown, less income being earned, and higher levels of poverty and food insecurity. Agriculture in low-income developing countries is a sector with exceptionally high impact in terms of its potential to reduce poverty. Yet for agricultural growth to fulfill this potential, gender disparities must be addressed and effectively reduced.

Statistics show that women and girls comprise of nearly 90% of care providers. This is a huge burden on women, and very rarely does it receive adequate attention. Please help us by filling out a survey on
the topic of women and caregiving in the context of HIV and AIDS.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

Your responses will be used to help us create our advocacy position and inform our research in the role of faith-based organizations advocating for the caretakers of those living with HIV and AIDS.    We very much
value your response. Please send your responses by Oct. 25.

~

Las estadísticas demuestran que las mujeres y las niñas están encargadas de casi el 90% del cuidado de las personas enfermas. Esto es una carga enorme para las mujeres y no recibe la atención adecuada. Le estamos enviando esta encuesta en preparación a la 53.a Sesión de la Comisión de la Condición Jurídica y Social de las Mujeres (CSW) que será celebrada en las Naciones Unidas en Nueva York del 2 al 13 de marzo del 2009. El tema de la reunión es “La distribución igualitaria de las responsabilidades entre las mujeres y los hombres, incluyendo el cuidado de pacientes afectados por el VIH/SIDA”.

Haz click aqui: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=kH_2fnkWuO94he7Hwl_2bNsXRw_3d_3d

Sus respuestas a esta encuesta nos ayudarán en nuestro aporte a la Comisión, y contribuirá a nuestro trabajo de investigación sobre el rol de las organizaciones religiosas en la defensa de los derechos de las personas que están encargadas del cuidado de la gente viviendo con VIH y SIDA. Nosotras valoramos mucho su respuesta. Envíe por favor sus respuestas antes del 25 de octubre del 2008.

by Anna Karin Hammar and Jean Sindab
Into Action: A Resource for Participation in the Ecumenical Decade of Churches in Solidarity with Women

As women we come seeking a reality to which we are called by our Savior. As women we come to affirm our life in Jesus Christ. As women we come to refute untruths, to challenge injustices, to confront oppressive structures that bind us. We, therefore, are called to declare the following truths:

One voice:
IT IS NOT TRUE that women should feel and experience that being a woman is of secondary value to the community.

All:
THIS IS TRUE that women are created women, the image of God, co-workers with God in caring for life, in struggling for the liberations of humanity and for a world order that respects each one’s dignity.

Read the rest of the litany.

By Christine Mangale, Lutheran Office for World Community

Consider this:

  • 12.3 million people are in forced or bonded labor and Sexual servitude – (UN)
  • Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the U.S. annually 80% of these are women and 50% minors. (US State Dept.)

I had the opportunity of attending the Human Trafficking Awareness Conference held at the Church Center for the United Nations, New York on September 29 – October 1, 2008.

This was of course an awakening for me, being a peer educator for many years and working with youth and young women in my home country of Kenya, given that East Africa, and Africa at large, is a hub for sex tourism and human trafficking.  During high season in the coastal region of Kenya which is my home, young girls literally drop out of school in search of whatever jobs they can find. The urge for better life and the biting hunger pains is a deadly combination that puts them at high risk of being trafficked by being lured into false lucrative jobs abroad.

Read the rest of this entry »

According to an article published in today’s New York Times, women in a remote province of Afghanistan called Bamian, are beginning to gain back their rights.  From driving cars, to serving on local councils, to electing the first an d only female Governor of Afghanistan, the changes in these women’s lives are having a profound effect on Afghanistan as a whole.

You can read more at the Times, or even watch this fantastic video of the story.

by Jessica Hawkinson, Seminar Program Coordinator
Presbyterian United Nations Office

According to a September 2008 UNICEF report, 50 million births in the developing world remain unattended each year—dramatically increasing the risk of both infant and maternal fatalities.(1) With millions of deaths and injuries as a result of inadequate health care for women, the pressure to meet the 5th Millennium Development Goal of Improving Maternal Health is all the more tangible. A few statistics from the recent UNICEF report put the status of maternal health and its accompanying MDG into perspective:

  • Each year, more than half a million women die from pregnancy-related causes and an estimated 10 million experience injuries, infections, disease or disability that can cause lifelong suffering.
  • More than 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with some 84 percent concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • Huge disparities in maternal care exist between the developing and developed world. In the developing world, the risk of death from complications relating to pregnancy and childbirth over the course of a woman’s lifetime is one in 76, compared with one in 8,000 in the industrialized world. In Niger that risk is estimated to be one in seven.
  • For more statistics, the UNICEF report can be viewed in full

In the midst of such overwhelming statistics, innovative efforts to bring change are being supported by United Nations organizations, as well as non-governmental and faith organizations. One recent initiative seeks to train and give power to local midwives as birth attendants and prenatal health staff. According to a UN news report, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) are embarking on a $9-million initiative to train, support, and build networks among midwives in the developing world.(2) Faith-based organizations are also actively engaged in supporting similar programs for improving global maternal health care.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ten years after the close of the World Council of Churches Ecumenical Decade in Solidarity with Women (1988-1998), we continue to learn from the lessons gathered. We continue to struggle. Although it was before my time as an international ecumenist, I have read that much of the progress made during the decade was largely due to the “solidarity of women with other women.” This was a time where we looked within, affirmed one another in the image of God and recognized gender inequality in our own house.

During this time of renewal and repentance; we set many goals to achieve greater equality for women. Part of the call during this Decade, indeed a recommendation, was for churches to create programmes, educational materials, networks and opportunities that specifically supported and empowered women.

Today, a similar call is happening within the United Nations. Ecumenical Women has been working with other women worldwide to support an initiative to create a single women-specific independent entity within the United Nations system and led by an Under-Secretary General at the highest level.

Read the rest of this entry »

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  • UN welcomes Malaysia's court ruling to decriminalizes transgender women
    The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) today welcomed the recent judgment by the Court of Appeal of Malaysia that declared unconstitutional the criminalization of Muslim transgender women for cross-dressing.
    UN News
  • UN mission continues investigation into alleged mass rape in North Darfur town
    Allegations of the mass rape of 200 women and girls in a town in North Darfur continue raise concerns in the war-torn Sudanese region as the African Union-United Nations hybrid mission there presses ahead with its efforts "to shed further light" on the reports.
    UN News

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