International Women’s Day: The Gender Agenda

I always celebrate IWD one way or another – over the years my activities have included a day of fast, a day of prayer, breakfast with hundreds of others, dinner with women and supporting survivors of domestic violence, lunch with women friends, doing a playback theatre performance, creating a women’s music mix … and the list goes on!  This year I sent an e-card through my business online network of women – a first for me.

The UN Gender Agenda has defined the 2013 theme as:

“A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”

International Women's Day

Back in your day, Hildegard many women joined the convent to maintain their individual identity within the walls of the convent. Their dowries added to the wealth of the religious order and helped create land reform. The collective response is the only way to build a future. Just as Margaret Mead famously said “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” And when that group is made up of women and the change in the world is for women, the whole planet benefits.

Some year’s ago I opened a women’s church event with the Hail Mary. What I did was I asked all the women present to insert their own name in place of Mary’s and the rest of the room responded. It went like this:  The woman said her name e.g. “I am Jenny”  and we all responded in unison “Hail Jenny full of grace the Lord is with you”;  and then we went onto the next person. It became a litany and the room was indeed full of grace by the time we had finished. It was incredibly powerful and unexpected for all of us.  The international guest speaker for whom we had all gathered took a moment to collect herself she was so moved by this expression of the feminine divine embodied in this simple ritual.

The gender agenda for my church is to get back to the beginning where there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female (Galatians 3:28).  This is the earliest baptismal rite recorded. In a recent discussion on Eureka Street it was revealed that  ‘the category of cardinal could be given to lay men AND lay women’ ow.ly/ilA6V.

I wonder what would happen if there was a group of women involved in discerning who would fill the vacancy at the Vatican? Actually I don’t need to wonder … it would be transformational. Cousins

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