Rooted in the Church of the Brethren, GWP seeks to educate about wealth, power and oppression, encouraging one another to live more simply, being mindful of our luxuries, and join in empowerment with women around the world, sharing resources with women’s initiatives. Read more about GWP and our founding in 1978.
Women’s rights around the world are an important indicator to understand global well-being.
A major global women’s rights treaty was ratified by the majority of the world’s nations a few decades ago.
Yet, despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues still exist in all areas of life, ranging from the cultural, political to the economic. For example, women often work more than men, yet are paid less; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and women and girls are often are the ones that suffer the most poverty.
Many may think that women’s rights are only an issue in countries where religion is law, such as many Muslim countries. Or even worse, some may think this is no longer an issue at all. But reading this report about the United Nation’s Women’s Treaty and how an increasing number of countries are lodging reservations, will show otherwise.
Gender equality furthers the cause of child survival and development for all of society, so the importance of women’s rights and gender equality should not be underestimated.
Almost two decades ago, in Beijing, 189 countries made a commitment to achieve equality for women, in practice and in law, so that all women could at last fully enjoy their rights and freedoms as equal human beings.
They adopted a comprehensive and ambitious plan to guarantee women the same rights as men to be educated and develop their potential. The same rights as men to choose their profession. The same rights to lead communities and nations, and make choices about their own lives without fear of violence or reprisal. No longer would hundreds of thousands of women die every year in childbirth because of health care policies and systems that neglected their care. No longer would women earn considerably less than men. No longer would discriminatory laws govern marriage, land, property and inheritance.
In the years that followed, the world has witnessed tremendous progress: the number of women in the work force has increased; there is almost gender parity in schooling at the primary level; the maternal mortality ratio declined by almost 50%; and more women are in leadership positions. Importantly, governments talk about women’s rights as human rights and women’s rights and gender equality are acknowledged as legitimate and indispensable goals.
However, the world is still far from the vision articulated in Beijing. Approximately 1 in 3 women throughout the world will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime. Less than a quarter of parliamentarians in the world are women. In over 50 countries there is no legal protection for women against domestic violence. Almost 300,000 women and girls died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Approximately 1 in 3 married women aged 20 to 24 were child brides.
All of our societies remain affected by stereotypes based on the inferiority of women which often denigrate, humiliate and sexualize them.
Global Women’s Project invites all women to live in solidarity with women around the world seeking to empower women and girls in their own communities in living a life of dignity and respect. How might you work to empower women in your community this International Women’s Day?
GWP Steering Committee
I always find this time of year to be exciting for the work of the Global Women’s Project Steering Committee. As we move from winter into spring, we have the opportunity to share some of our inspiring educational resources with our supporters. Hearing about your experiences with these materials always energizes our committee as we come together for our March meeting (this year we’re coming for you, Modesto, CA!).
Ash Wednesday is just around the corner, but it’s not too late to order one of our free Lenten
Calendars! Filled with scripture, facts about our partner projects and the countries where they are based, beautiful pictures and artwork, and engaging activities, this calendar is sure to be a meaningful addition to your Lenten season. We’ve had several congregations decide to use the calendar this year and we can’t wait to hear their reflections on the experience. Prefer a “greener” method to participating in the calendar? Sign up to receive a page of the calendar each day by email throughout Lent. No more forgetting where you left the calendar, just check your inbox! If you are interested in either of these options, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with either your email address or mailing address.
Sunday March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we invite you, your women’s fellowship group, and your congregation to check out the Women’s Day Resources shared on our website. Click here to access several powerful pieces written by women around the country. There are litanies, prayers, reflections, hymn suggestions, and more – everything you need to put together a thought-provoking service that honors and empowers the women in our communities and around the world.
GWP Steering Committee
As we approach the holidays and the final weeks of Global Women‘s Project‘s fiscal year, I invite you to consider making an end-of-year tax deductible donation to help continue the work of GWP into 2015. With our relatively small budget, comprised solely of donations, we have been able to transform women‘s lives throughout the world. With your support, we have been able to give more grant money to our Partner Projects in Nepal, South Sudan, Rwanda, Uganda and the U.S. than we have in the past several years. In addition, we were able to give a timely grant to the Centre for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiatives in Nigeria due to the enormous need there. We have also engaged in efforts to educate as many people as we could about issues related to wealth and privilege and the impact of our choices on the lives of others.
I am excited about the work of GWP! In just a few weeks, you will have an opportunity to get a more extensive look into our activities through reading our newsletter, Globalinks. As we prepare for the printing and mailing of this “annual report,” I am reminded of the extent of outreach that can be done in a year with approximately $20,000, a dedicated Steering Committee, faithful and visionary women around the world, and willing volunteers who have helped us with everything from licking envelopes to transporting Lenten Calendars around the country. My heartfelt gratitude to all of you who have given to GWP, and to those of you who will yet give.
If you would like to make a contribution to GWP on behalf of yourself, in honor of a loved one, or as an alternative holiday gift, please send a check to:
Global Women‘s Project
1451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120
Thank you again, and Happy Holidays!
Kim Hill Smith
I am grateful for bread because it is simple, basic, meant to nourish. I am grateful for bread and the ways it sustains us. I am grateful for bread and the way it connects us to others. Bread in its many forms is a food for all nations and peoples.
I am grateful for the cycle that bread represents: Planting the seeds, nurturing the plants, harvesting the grain, grinding the fruits of harvest, in preparation for sustenance which is shared around a family table, carried in a small cloth for midday meal, or broken and offered hand-to-hand in communion ritual.
Gratitude is also simple, basic, life-giving, universal. As we celebrate this season of thanks and giving, Global Women’s Project is indeed grateful for the women in our partner projects, women who gather together to plan, plant, harvest, mentor, nurture, and create to sustain their families and support one another. And we are grateful that you share with our partners in supporting their work to educate, heal, restore, and sustain themselves in their own communities.
Marlene Neher, our host for our October Steering Committee meeting in Iowa, served baskets of homemade rolls at each meal, a specialty she has developed from a basic recipe she used for a 4-H demonstration as a youth. These rolls have made their way to simple meals and joyous celebrations, where two or many have gathered together. Here is the recipe for you to try. Eat with gratitude for the simple gift of bread and all the sunlight and rainfall, the growing in the good earth, the hands that have prepared it from grain to roll, and the bodies and souls nurtured in the sharing.
SPEEDIE BUN DOUGH
Mix in bowl: 2 c. lukewarm water, 2 pkgs. yeast, 1/3 cup sugar
Add and beat: 2 c. flour, 1 tsp. salt
Add and beat: 2 eggs, 1/3 c. canola oil, melted shortening or butter
Gradually add: 4 ½ c. more flour (Up to 2 cups can be whole wheat or other flour. Adapt other ingredients as needed.) Stir until dough is formed. Let dough rest in bowl for 20 minutes. Shape into rolls. Let rise in warm place. Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
Gratefully, Pearl Miller
GWP Steering Committee
Greetings, Global Women’s Project supporters!
We had a very productive steering committee meeting earlier this month in Iowa. We stayed with members of the Ivester Church of the Brethren (Marlene and Lyle Neher, pictured with the steering committee here) and worshiped with that community on Sunday. Several of us have personal connections with that church, so it was especially meaningful to re-connect. We broke bread with the congregation on Sunday morning (World Communion Sunday) and told some stories about breaking bread (in the metaphorical sense) with women around the world. We feel deeply blessed to be connecting in various ways with global women and doing the work of GWP as the volunteer steering committee. We welcomed our newest member, Carol Leland, to her first meeting. She will be introduced more in our annual newsletter (look for that in early 2015).
If you have a new mailing address (since January 2014) or would like to be added to our newsletter mailing list, please email us at email@example.com. You can look forward to reading updates from all of our partner projects in our newsletter in January. Thank you for your ongoing support. We couldn’t do the work we do without the support of our donors!
Blessings to you all this fall,
GWP Steering Committee member
When the Global Women’s Project Steering Committee meets in person twice a year, one of the things we always end up talking about is relationships. What I mean by that is that GWP understands our work to be about forming partnerships, making deep connections with people, and striving to make the world a better place for women in solidarity with one another. As a steering committee, we always start our meetings by checking in with one another and sharing our joys and concerns. At our in person meetings and at Annual Conference, we connect with GWP supporters by sharing about our projects and resources, and by listening to what you all have to say about social justice and economic privilege. In order to support our five projects around the world, which we purposely call “Partner Projects,” we are in regular communication with contacts who work directly with these groups and can best assess their needs. GWP does its most powerful work when all of these layers of relationships are nurtured together.
During our last conference call, GWP had the opportunity to deepen one of these connections by speaking with Esperance Nyirandayisenga, our contact for our project in Rwanda. Esperance described some of the work the women in her community are doing, such as weaving baskets to sell to tourists, making quilts, and doing agricultural work like growing vegetables and raising sheep and goats. She shared that a group of about 42 women meet each week to discuss their life situations and who is in need. These women each contribute a little money to a common fund, which they then use to help women create small businesses. GWP’s grants to this project have helped the women to buy seeds, tools, and land for their agricultural endeavors. We are so grateful to have had this time to connect with Esperance!