International Women's Convocation

Message on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018

On International Women’s Day, March 8, we celebrate women – ordinary and extraordinary – who have changed and are continuing to change history. We remember all the women who have fought for equality, mindful of all the rights yet to be achieved.

The theme for this year’s United Nations International Women’s Day is Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives. All over the world, women and men are acting for change, mobilizing in marches and campaigns for equality and justice. This unprecedented global activism is being fueled by movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp, by worldwide protests against discrimination, sexual harassment, and violence,  and by campaigns for reproductive rights, equal pay, and women’s political representation. In December 2017, “The Silence Breakers” –– women who broke their silence and spoke out on sexual assault and harassment –– were named TIME magazine’s Person of the Year.

As Unitarian*Universalists, we must cherish this momentum and channel the energy into transformative action. Drawing on the resilience of rural and urban women activists worldwide, it is time for us to stand up and speak out in the face of harassment, discrimination, and the rollback of hard-won rights.

In our newsletters this past year, we have honored the activism of U*U women taking part in historic women’s marches across the United States and the Black Protest movement in Poland; we have celebrated the resilience of our Khasi and Filipina sisters who are taking a stand for women’s rights.

We draw strength and inspiration from amazing women who promote cross-cultural sisterhood. Across Transylvanian congregations, UNOSZ, the Association of Unitarian Women of Romania, has organized plate collections in recognition of International Women’s Day/Mother’s Day to support IWC’s critical work of global women’s empowerment; last year’s proceeds were sent directly to the Women’s Wing of the Unitarian Union of Northeast India, honoring the Khasi women who are sparking change through empowerment, leadership development, and programs to prevent and combat violence against women.

Far and wide, grassroots movements, led by women, are changing the world. Time is now to forge better, more gender-equal societies. Join us in celebration, action, and transformation!

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Arlene Johnson, President

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Zsófia Sztranyiczki, Executive Director