Ecumenical Women is an international coalition of church denominations and ecumenical organizations which have status with the Economic & Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations. These bodies share and are committed to a common mission and vision.
Grounded in our faith and commitment to global justice, Ecumenical Women trains and empowers our expanding network to advocate for gender equality at the United Nations.
Members of Ecumenical Women affirm God’s preferential option for the marginalized and that Jesus has confirmed God’s will that the world “may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). We envision a human community where the participation of each and every one is valued, where no one is excluded on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, age, religion or cultural practice, and where diversity is celebrated as God’s gift to the world.
Within our Biblical interpretation, Jesus’ ministry of healing and community with women and other marginalized peoples, indicates a deep respect for and equality with women. Yet the world does not reflect his actions. Many women are not able to participate in the world’s abundance the same way that men are accorded. Many women are excluded from access to rights, resources, services and protection, including economic opportunities, labor rights, health services, land and – most crucially – education. Women do not have equal fulfillment of civil and political nor economic, social and cultural rights anywhere in the world. Women living in poverty and from indigenous and minority ethnic backgrounds are the most excluded.
It is our understanding that the church at its best can be a center which models policies which reinforce gender equality, creates budgets which reflect a desire to invest in women’s equality, and which develops networks of women and men who resist systems of patriarchy, domination and abuse. We believe that the church is a powerful transformative vehicle for the teaching, protection and enforcement of women’s rights and gender equality when its constituents and leadership are informed and empowered.
As a coalition, we seek to give those traditionally excluded from political decision making bodies, opportunities to speak truth to power through partnerships with our communities and through bringing women from around the world to the United Nations. Our Ecumenical Women coalition advocates for gender justice at the United Nations, incorporating annual advocacy trainings for our constituencies and delegations, network building and policy recommendations which challenge structures of inequality. Members of Ecumenical Women advocate not only for a few improvements but for a fundamental system change in church and state to invest in and empower women worldwide.
Ecumenical Women was founded in 2000 on the occasion of the five-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing +5) to enhance and reinforce the collaboration of progressive churches and ecumenical organizations to advocate for the rights of women at the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
- Anglican Communion
- Anglican Women’s Empowerment (friend)
- Association of Presbyterian Women Aotearoa New Zealand
- Church Women United
- Episcopal Church
- Lutheran World Federation
- Medical Mission Sisters
- National Council of Churches (USA) (friend)
- Presbyterian Church (USA)
- Presbyterian Women in the Presbyterian Church (USA)
- The Salvation Army
- United Church of Christ
- United Methodist Church
- Women’s Missionary Society of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
- World Conference on Religions for Peace (collaborator)
- World Council of Churches
- World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women
- World Student Christian Federation
- World YWCA
Read our Memorandum of Understanding.