Hello to our lively community of Women of Spirit and Faith,
It feels really important to reach out to all of you … to take a pause to reflect together for a moment on the cusp of our Presidential election here in the U.S.
First, and most importantly, please exercise your hard-won right to vote. In fact,you still have a few days to take advantage of early voting which is available in most counties.
Kathe Schaaf and Kay Lindahl were recently asked to review a remarkable book – Women, Religion and Peacebuilding: Illuminating the Unseen, edited by Susan Hayward and Katherine Marshall, for an upcoming issue of The Interfaith Observer which will be available online November 15 at http://www.theinterfaithobserver.org/.
The courage and stamina of the women profiled in the book inspired this reflection on the ‘movement moment’ opening up for us now as women:
As we write, we are living in an amazing moment in the United States, when demeaning and sexist attitudes toward women are being illuminated. Social media is buzzing, and both men and women are rising up in a myriad of ways to demand a paradigm shift that will embrace women’s leadership and strength.
But what does that shift look like? And why does it seem so hard to step into doing things in a new way? Dena Merriam begins to explore this dynamic in her chapter about women and peacebuilding. “We have seen in women political and business leaders that women who achieve positions of power have had to compete so intensely that they often follow the same behavioral patterns as their male counterparts.”” (p. 111). She continues by wondering what would change if half the world’s religious and political leaders were women, who have demonstrated globally that they are more likely to weave the needs of families and children into their decision-making. We join her in curiosity about what women’s leadership might look like if women felt safe enough to step out of old patterns of hierarchy and began to experiment with new forms and structures.
What we see happening at this potential movement moment is that women are breaking through the code of silence that has been our pattern for survival. We are finding out that when one courageous woman speaks out she is no longer alone. Both men and women are standing up for the dignity and respect of all women. We can reclaim our voices and our wisdom. As we step into the opening created by this conversation we look for possibilities, not problems; we pay attention to the questions arising – seeking to open up rather than close down; and we listen before we speak. This is how the shift happens.
We encourage you to breathe in the most powerful message of this book, one that is being lived into by women around the globe as they do their diverse work on behalf of a better world:
We are here – now.
We are not going back and we are not going away.
We are awake and alive, passionate and skilled.
We are the good news that many of you
have been waiting for.
We are so grateful to be in community with you.