This year’s theme is Pledge for Parity.
When I was a girl growing up in the 60s and then in college in the 70s, I felt that I could do anything that a boy/man could do. In college I went through a very...well, sort of Pentecostal stage of my faith life and even then, the idea that God spoke only to men or that men had some God-given say over my life was just silly to me. I guess because growing up I watched my minister father listen to my should-have-been-a-pastor mother.
In the late 70s I went to seminary and almost all my classmates were men and most – not all – did not seem to have a clue about how to be compassionate and kind. I was the first woman to start and finish in that seminary in 1979 and I could not be ordained, thanks to the ideas of my denomination. In light of the feminist movement and the way the world seemed to be finally changing for women, my church then seemed ridiculous.
I was angry and rage would overwhelm me. I was “young and full of piss and vinegar,” as my grandmother would say. Now, I’m 61 and take things more in stride. This year will be 40 years since I started seminary…40 years! And while doing some research for this blog about women around the world this is what I have learned:
• Women and girls make up 70% of those who live in extreme poverty.
• Women work two-thirds of the world’s work hours, but receive only 10% of the earnings and only own 1% of the world’s wealth.
• Across the world 63 million girls do not have access to education.
• A half a billion women cannot read.
• Girls account for three-quarters of new HIV infections worldwide.
• 250 million girls were married before they turned 15 years old.
• More than 1 in 10 girls have experienced forced intercourse or other sexual violence.
• Women and girls account for 70% of the human trafficking or slavery.
• It is estimated that 35% of all women alive today have experienced some form of sexual violence and in some countries up to 70% of all women.
On the website for International Women’s Day is this paragraph:
The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn't close entirely until 2133.
Reading the above made my tired old blood boil once again. In 2014 my granddaughter Charlotte might have seen global gender parity IF she had lived to be 100 years old but now, just one year later, she would have to be 138!!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH US???!!!
We all came from mothers. About half of us ARE females. And we have women friends, daughters, granddaughters and sisters…
What is it about having female parts that devalue us so? I don’t get it, but I do get that it has to change.
One small step is to go to here to pledge and then act. This bias against women and girls is more than ridiculous, it is cruel. -Kathleen