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The following Oral Statement was delivered to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Fifty-fourth Session, on February 26, 2010 by Constance Mogale or Lana Finikin.

As organizations committed to partnering with Haitian women to ensure their effective participation in rebuilding Haiti, we call upon member governments and international humanitarian aid agencies present at the CSW to commit to actions that will ensure that all future relief, recovery and reconstruction investments declare and adhere to measurable standards of gender equality. In the current period of relief and temporary shelter, in the design and distribution of entitlements, and in the planning and rebuilding of infrastructure and development programs, we urge implementing actors to establish collaborative processes that are anchored in formal partnerships with Haitian women’s groups (particularly local grassroots groups) who are empowered and resourced to take public leadership in the protracted process of reconstruction.

As a coalition of groups and networks active in the global women’s movement we will partner with Haitian women’s groups to ensure that equitable, transparent, and socially just standards are adhered to in all phases of recovery and will regularly monitor:

Participation: Haitian women are disproportionately impacted by the crisis as well as key to their country’s recovery. Thus we expect to see a large and diverse number of Haitian women’s organizations consulted and included in needs and damage assessments, and in the design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of post-disaster aid programs. Financing large numbers of grassroots women and their community organizations is essential to ensuring that — women’s needs and priorities are reflected in relief and recovery and that displaced women are socially legitimated as a key stakeholder group.

Leadership: The legacy of Haitian women’s leadership at home, in workplaces and across communities is a strong foundation for designing, implementing and evaluating long-term recovery as well as continuing aid. Women’s leadership and care-giving work should be recognized and supported by policy and program mandates and transparent resource commitments that enable women to play meaningful, sustained and formal roles in the long-term recovery process. And, as social and political leadership positions are restored or created Haitian women must hold a proportional share.

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by Onleilove Alston

Note: Though DWU works on issues affecting domestic workers in the U.S. the issues faced by its membership are shared by women worldwide. The exploitation of women workers is an international human rights issue. According to Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the U.N. :

  • (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
  • (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
  • (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
  • (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor  and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. THEY will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD   for the display of his splendor. THEY will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; THEY will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations. -Isaiah 61:1-4

“I want to be in tune with my maker.”

“I pray for the organization to get the (the Domestic Worker) Bill of Rights passed”.

“Without God we can’t do anything”.

“I put fliers in the churches, I speak to the pastors”.

–Marilyn Marshall and Joyce Gill-Campbell Leaders in Domestic Workers United (DWU)

“We have a dream that one day, all work
will be valued equally”.-Mission of Domestic Workers United

During the spring of 2006 I started to closely read Isaiah 61 and began to gain spiritual encouragement from meditating on God’s care for the poor and oppressed. I began to study this scripture whenever I had the chance. In 2007 I started to work with New York Faith & Justice after meeting founders: Lisa Sharon Harper, Anna Lee and Peter Heltzel at Pentecost 2007. In the Fall of 2007 New York Faith & Justice did an in-depth Bible Study on Isaiah 61 and from this study I learned that this passage declares the poor “the oaks of righteousness”, and “that THEY will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated”. This new insight revolutionized my approach to the ministry of ending poverty. Instead of just preaching the gospel to the poor, the poor are called to rebuild and restore their communities! If you are a person of privilege instead of working for the poor you are called to work alongside the poor. And if like me you come from the ranks of the poor you are called to rebuild and restore your community. This re-reading of Isaiah 61 is further supported by my work with the Poverty Initiative’s Poverty Scholars Program. The Poverty Scholars program brings poor activist from across America to Union Theological Seminary to take part in an educational program of conferences, theological reflection and action planning centered on re-igniting Dr. King’s Poor People’s Campaign.

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by Meagan Manas, cross-posted from NCCC Women’s Ministries

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?”

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:35-40

In this spirit, a group of women gathered in 1879 to found the Women’s Home and Foreign Mission Society in the American Lutheran Church. Through collections gathered in “mite boxes,” this organization has collected more than a million dollars to fund various projects around the world. Some of the first projects included financing women missionaries, including two female missionary doctors, Dr. Anna Sarah Kugler, and Dr. Betty Nilsson, and building schools, both coeducational and for girls only, like this one in China.

A Woman manages her product at a market in Accra, Ghana

A Woman manages her product at a market in Accra, Ghana

According to the Women’s Funding Network (WFN), “It is estimated that women hold more than 51% of the personal wealth in the United States, and they are set to inherit trillions of dollars more as the World War II generation begins to transfer its wealth. Women are expected to control 60% of the wealth in the United States by 2010.” The mission of WFN is to connect these women with opportunities to fund other women around the globe, women who are in poverty and truly the least of “the least of these.”

The movement, led by women inside and outside of the ecumenical community, to consider specifically women and children in the world’s poor when writing policy or contributing money is now seeking a new target: gender budgeting in all levels of our communities, governments, and world.

What is Gender Budgeting?

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by Sarah Strickland

As a first-time delegate to the CSW annual meetings, I can only describe my experience as “jumping into the deep-end of the pool.” I was blessed to be asked to be a delegate for the Women’s Intercultural Network by Jean Shinoda Bolen and Marilyn Fowler and I thank divine guidance for my leap of faith to say “yes!” My trade is strategic planning and co-creating “road-maps” that help people in organizations “see” where they want to go. I often find myself in a “midwife” role by helping bring an emerging idea or strategy into being. Recently, I have found myself drawing what I am seeing, hearing and understanding to be present about conversations I am in. The images flow through me and simply show up. It is my way of synthesizing and connecting many different elements into a picture-story. I was asked to share this with others. Please feel free to use it however you wish.

This picture emerged in the chapel at the Church building after I attended two days of meetings. Read the rest of this entry »


CSW Worship 7

Originally uploaded by Ecumenical Women

On Saturday, February 23, Ecumenical Women gathered for our orientation on the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women.  On that day, we joined together as women from many different areas of the world, cultures, ethnicities, denominations, and identities of all kinds, to form a coalition of women advocating for gender equality at the United Nations, from a faith-based perspective.  We worshipped together, learned together, reflected together, and ate together!  And after all that togetherness… we advocated together! 

Photograph by Kimberly Llerena.

About a month ago, I was writing the litany for Ecumenical Women’s opening worship for the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In the first draft of the refrain, I wrote, “Shower the earth with your justice, O God, and invest life into the bodies of your people.” Bringing it to Kathleen Stone, the chaplain at the Church Center for the United Nations, I, a white, privileged, upper-middle class (by American standards), North American woman, expressed my timidity about using the word “justice” so liberally in the refrain. “What is justice, anyway?” I thought to myself, “and how do I feel about a God who openly distributes justice upon God’s enemies? What does it mean for God to have enemies?” 

 As I expressed these perusings to Kath, she paused before commenting. When she spoke, it was reminiscent of what my Exegesis professor at Union Theological Seminary would later say about Ezekiel 37:1-14. For those people who have witnessed the ravaging of their homes, who have experienced the debilitating scourge of poverty upon their bodies and communities, and whose flesh has been torn and wounded—indeed, for those who have seen the “dry bones” of Ezekiel—the word “justice” is never too strong a word to use. In these situations, when humanity is hampered by our inability to distribute justice, it is God who must distribute justice. The women who would be reciting my litany have seen these dry bones, and they have come to the CSW to right the injustices of this valley. With these women in mind, Kath and I changed the refrain to “Thunder the earth with your justice, O God, and invest life into the bodies of your people.”

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Download lobby document:  Ecumenical Women Agreed Conclusions additions

A Study of The Kingdom of God within the “Monterrey Consensus” framework
….for the sake of all persons male, female, black, white, young, old, rich, poor,

There is a heart within those of us who yet believe in the coming of the Kingdom of God which will not rest. ”

(adapted from Augustine, 300 AD)

This study is born from that unrest. It analyzes the six themes of the Monterrey consensus. It can be used as a discussion guide for groups to analyze the concept of the Kingdom of God or the Monterrey consensus.

An excerpt:
One look at the world as we see it today with its vast inequities of privilege, power, ease of life, and economics, and we know something is vastly wrong. When we understand that women bear the disproportional burden of our erroring ways, the problem is thicker. And when we realize that women of color and indigenous women are excessively loaded with troubling powerful inequity, we must cry out. “This is just wrong.”

As the bearers of children, women have always needed the protection of community. Except for perhaps small pockets of the world, we can not escape this fact. And yet, more and more, around the world, with the direction our economy is taking us, women’s only hope of survival is to be used as a cog in a “liberalized, non-regulated economy”. And the problem? The value system of that economy has little consideration for the unique needs and the multiple responsibilities placed upon women. To see so many suffering at such extraordinary levels is unacceptable in God’s Kingdom and should be unacceptable in any ethical system of governance.

Download to read more….
A Study of The Kingdom of God within the “Monterrey Consensus” framework

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