By Kathy Burek, on behalf of the IWC Board of Directors
We are a global partnership of U*U women
who work for women’s empowerment
through U*U connections around the world.
The IWC Board of Directors recently completed a year-long strategic planning process. IWC’s strategic plan intends to build on the great work accomplished over its 8-year history and help shape the future of the organization.
We affirm IWC’s identity as an organization of women, grounded in Unitarian, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist principles and values (U*U principles hereafter). A primary goal of IWC is to achieve gender equity and to empower women. What unites us across national borders, race, and class lines is our commitment to empowering women and dismantling patriarchy and other structures of oppression.
Another important part of our identity is that we are an international organization, not simply a U.S. organization with international interests. We are committed to supporting projects that arise from and are led by the communities served. We will engage in partnerships based on equality, and not operate on the “savior” or “charity” models. Being culturally sensitive it critical. We do not wish to perpetuate U.S. cultural hegemony. Sustainability is an important criterion for our work; we seek to build on the existing capabilities in the communities we serve. IWC also pledges to be accountable to all of our stakeholders. We are nondiscriminatory in our work, open to all who share our vision and values.
As a small organization, IWC can’t do it all. Part of our process was to decide what work we can do, trusting that there are others who will address issues we cannot address. We remain committed to empowering women in our five program areas of Economic Empowerment, Education, Health and Reproductive Justice, Leadership Development, and Violence Prevention. Leadership Development will be one of our priority areas for the next five years, as we build on the Global Initiative for Women’s Leadership launched at the IWC Business Meeting last year. The #MeToo movement provides IWC with an opportunity to leverage a worldwide campaign by emphasizing work in Violence Prevention. We have been successful in raising funds to support violence awareness programs in the Philippines, India, and Bolivia; we will also offer a workshop on this topic at the 2018 UUA General Assembly in U.S. Gatherings and convocations will continue to be vital as we build meaningful relationships and partnerships.
IWC values our many partners, especially U*U women’s organizations in the U.S., India, the Philippines, Hungary, and Romania. Together with the UU Women’s Federation and the UU Women & Religion, we will organize a meeting of U*U women’s organizations and organizations focusing on women’s advancement in the Boston area this coming September. This meeting will help us coordinate our activities and collaborate to achieve common goals.
IWC relies heavily on grants which are passed along to the projects we sponsor. The financial support of the UU Funding Panels makes our work possible, and we are grateful for their assistance. Building a stable source of funding for our programs and activities is a critical goal. We need to support and expand our staff if we are to attain our goals.
We also need many hands to do this important work. You will be hearing over the next year about ways you can help IWC.
You will find the IWC Strategic Plan here. Your comments and feedback are always welcome!