My blogs never usually mention giving money – so next month, you can relax. But just this once….
Over the next two weeks, thousands of women from every UN country will be in New York. They won’t be marching or doing much shouting.
They will instead be making their voices heard at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). A plethora of events will cover different agendas, from high powered celebrity packed celebrations to small, slightly amateurish affairs on the fringes. The CSW is the biggest UN gathering aside from the General Assembly. There will be politicians, professional feminists, charities and faith groups.
It’s expensive to be there and this year I won’t be making the trip. Lack of money is the biggest barrier to having a voice.
Last year, the leader of evangelical women in the Caribbean and I were there, sharing a budget room, meeting people, attending events and telling anyone who would listen that women in local churches around the globe deserve a voice. Jenifer Johnson from Barbados is a strong leader: she has her own radio program dealing with a range of relationship issues from a Christian perspective; and she runs the only shelter on the island for women who need to get away from abusive homes. She is consulted regularly by the government on these social issues because she is intimately involved in the lives of local women.
At the CSW, Jenifer spoke at an event organised by a faith group, Side by Side, about how she is working with churches to alert them to abuse and trafficking (girls and boys are victims). She also trains pastors in how to talk about healthy family life.
Women of faith can be sidelined at the UN but they have important views on education, family, health and work. They also want to learn how to advocate more effectively.
I would love to be able to have funds so more women can go to events like the CSW. I would love to see more capable women like Jenifer training others. Women like Fortuna in Kenya, Lona in South Sudan and MayPan in Myanmar.
It is not easy to get money to train, develop and inspire Christian women in leadership. Those words don’t go together in Christian fundraising circles. We will give money to see women lifted out of dire poverty via micro-credit, which is great. We will sponsor girls to get an education, which is very needed.
But somehow, the next step, of seeing young women being trained as leaders in a Christian context becomes too hard. Women are victims of violence, of poverty, of maternal mortality. But they can also deliver solutions if they get opportunity and encouragement.
So this week on International Women’s day (the 8th) and with Mothers Day around the corner, I’m asking for women and men to help me develop confident and equipped women leaders in the Church, at the UN and in business.
Let’s use our wealth for women. And then let’s pray that the money will be multiplied as it is used for leadership projects. Those empowered women will in turn train, equip and encourage many thousands more.
I’m asking for money so women from places like Egypt, Barbados and South Sudan, can have leadership training and development opportunities for the benefit of the whole Church.
If you live in the UK Please make your donation by bank transfer to Transform Network. Bank: HSBC Account Name: Transform Network Sort code: 40-06–34 Account Number: 01411616 Reference: Women’s Commission
If you live anywhere else eg USA, Canada, Australia The easiest way to donate is online Please designate your donation – Women’s Commission
All these accounts are audited. The money will go to the Women’s Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance to develop women in leadership.