Women’s rights and empowerment: a profoundly religious journey

Katherine Marshall of the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, & World Affairs and the World Faiths Development Dialogue writes of the spiritual nature of female religious and women’s groups to boldly secure peace and work for women’s rights.

Religious women are rarely seen as ardent feminists, with reason. Many religions keep women in the background. Today, however, many of the most thoughtful and determined advocates for women’s rights and empowerment come with strong religious links.

The same is true where peace is concerned. A quiet, often invisible group of women with strong religious ties is working relentlessly for peace in many corners of the world. There are some efforts to link them so their voices and impact are amplified, including the Global Peace Initiative for Women, which Sister Joan [Chittister] co-chairs. But these networks are still fragile.

….the theological and cultural moats that have separated feminists from women whose drive and motivation is inspired by their faith need to be filled and crossed. There is too much good will and inspiration on both sides to let ancient unease block new alliances.

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