Embodying Women & Gender Justice webinar uplifts need for awareness, advocacy

UCC Women’s Week was celebrated with a special Embodying Women and Gender Justice Year Round webinar on Wednesday, March 6.

Lead by national staff Rachael Ward, team leader for gender and sexuality justice ministries; Rebekah Choate, minister for global advocacy and education; Rev. Tara Barber, minister for ministerial support and accountability of MESA; and Sherry Warren, minister for women’s and gender justice, the event brought people together for sharing stories and information.

Ward introduced this time as an important moment in women’s history. 

“We find that women disproportionately bear the brunt of societal issues, whether it’s poverty, access to healthcare, access to a fair wage. It’s across the board — women bear the brunt of that impact,” said Choate. “Women and gender justice touches a multiplicity of issues that impact each of us daily. We’re in a moment where bodily autonomy is under attack at greater lengths than ever before. Choosing to become more aware of how legislation impacts us, how to advocate for bodily autonomy, and provide care for those lacking access to critical needs is a direct way to embody the call to love our neighbors well.” 

Empowering women and girls

Choate shared about the Global Ministries partner projects that empower women.

“When we talk about economically empowered women and girls, we aren’t just talking about more income for the family; we are talking about a world where women are less likely to be abused, more likely to be educated, and more likely to have control over their reproductive choices. This enables them to not only advocate for more just policies from their governments, but also in their own families. Education and work opportunities can make a profound difference in changing the role of women in their communities around the world and here at home,” she said. 

“Women’s issues are more than just about women — they intersect with all kinds of issues. It feels like an urgent time to be a part of this conversation,” Barber noted.

Period poverty relief

Warren addressed the issue of women in poverty, particularly those experiencing ‘period poverty.’ This refers to the fact that in many parts of the world, people who menstruate do not have access to the supplies they need to do so hygienically and respectfully.”

She noted that in the United States alone, 22 million people suffer from period poverty. 

UCC leaders spoke about the importance of women and gender justice during UCC Women’s Week.

Warren shared that she is working on a menstrual hygiene toolkit for UCC congregations to get engaged like the service project that was held at the 2023 General Synod in Indianapolis, where period pack kits were put together for those who are in transition and living in shelters, experiencing natural disasters, or are refugees for reasons of war. She noted the Red Cross does not hand out any kind of menstruation supplies.

“Period Pack Sunday” is designated for May 26, 2024. More to come about special events on this day as it gets closer.

‘Raising our awareness’

Barber shared information about the Antoinette Brown Society and invited clergywomen to attend the upcoming ABS Clergywomen’s Leadership Event in April.

“If you have heard about Rev. Antoinette Brown, you likely just know that she was the first woman ordained in the Congregational Church in 1853. She also fought for the 14th Amendment, challenged Darwin, and was a suffragist advocating for all women’s rights to vote. Following in her legacy, the Antoinette Brown Society recognizes clergywomen excellence, challenging and inspiring the church to be more just. As we look toward our upcoming leadership event, we will continue to engage the intersection of racism, sexism, and ministry, nurturing each other’s gifts and calls to our families, church, and world,” she said.

After the webinar closed, Ward reflected on the continuous need for this awareness and work.

“The webinar uplifted the ways that women and gender justice intersects with a wide variety of justice issues. Whether that is poverty or bodily autonomy, these injustices affect each of our lives. Saying ‘yes’ to embodying women and gender justice year-round begins with raising our awareness of what’s at stake and committing to advocacy along the way,” they said. “I was moved by the stories shared by my colleagues across the National Setting of how our collective work is bringing humanity and justice to women around the world.” 

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Categories: United Church of Christ News

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