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Church of the Brethren

What’s Gender Got to Do with It?
March 22, 2010

This weekend, roughly 700 Christians will come to Washington, D.C., for an annual event called Ecumenical Advocacy Days. The theme “Development, Security, and Economic Justice: What’s Gender Got to Do with It?” looks closely at the role women play in building their communities in the United States and around the world. The description of the theme reads, “In homes and communities, out in fields and marketplaces, along borders and in areas of conflict -- violence, poverty, and other social evils disproportionately affect women and girls keeping them from attaining their full potential and impacting the wholeness and vibrancy of the full community.”

However, even if you can’t come to Washington this weekend, you can join with your brothers and sisters of faith by calling for a world where the development, security, and economic justice of women, children, and families is taken into account. Contact your congressional officials with the same message attendees will bring them in person – click here to send a message on the effects of the budget on women and families, and here to call for support for the Violence Against Women Act, and the International Violence Against Women Act.

Because of their often subjugated or marginalized status, women are generally more vulnerable than men when it comes to poverty. Women and their families can succeed and generate great good  in their societies when they have the right tools and resources available to them - economic opportunity, basic health care and education, the ability to participate in decisions that affect them, and recognition of their basic rights and dignity.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first federal legislation acknowledging domestic violence and sexual assault as a crime. It also provides federal resources for community-coordinated responses to violence against women. VAWA, originally passed in 1994, is to be re-authorized in 2011. The International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) would, for the first time, make stopping violence against women and girls a priority in United States diplomacy and foreign aid. The legislation is designed to stop the brutal violence against girls and women that afflicts communities and countries across the globe – the domestic, violence, rape, acid burnings, so-called honor killings, and other gross violations of human rights.

In many places and spaces, the Church of the Brethren has advocated for the rights of women around the world. The Global Women’s Project calls this to our attention as a denomination, and Annual Conference Statements on the equality of women, domestic violence, and modern-day slavery, show the impact of this witness. Supporting the rights and options of women in communities around the world is also at the core of our global mission work, our work with groups like Church World Service, and in the work of Brethren-related organizations like New Community Project.

Click here to send a message on the effects of the federal budget proposals for women and families, and here to call for support for the Violence Against Women Act, and the International Violence Against Women Act.



Church of the Brethren Policy: The 1977 Annual Conference Statement, “Equality” reads: “Once women and men entered the meeting-house through separate doors. Now sisters and brothers stand together as a family in the Church. Let us learn to give and to receive one another as equally valuable, equally capable, equally beloved children of God..”

1997 Annual Conference Query, “Domestic Violence” reads, “The Church of the Brethren condemns all forms of domestic violence; and forwards a request to the Association of Brethren Caregivers that their staff suggest resources that encourage districts and congregations to address the concerns, including the prevention, of domestic abuse.”

2008 Annual Conference Resolution, “Slavery in the 21st Century” reads, “We commit to educating ourselves and others about modern-day slavery and initiating and supporting antislavery action at home and abroad. This includes measures to prevent enslavement, to end slavery, to care for those who have been victimized by slavery, and to change our personal lifestyle habits that support it.”

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For more information about the witness ministries of the Church of the Brethren, contact Jordan Blevins, Advocacy Officer for the Church of the Brethren:

Jordan Blevins
C/O National Council of Churches
110 Maryland Ave. NE
Suite 108
Washington, DC 20002

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Church of the Brethren Action Alerts are a ministry of the denomination's Global Mission Partnerships and its witness and advocacy office in Washington, D.C., in cooperation with the National Council of Churches. Contact advocacy officer Jordan Blevins at . Contact Global Mission Partnerships at the Church of the Brethren General Offices, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120; 800-323-8039 or .

2010 Church of the Brethren.