News – March 2016
Dear members and friends of the UUWF,
As you can see in this latest newsletter, we have been continuing and expanding our work on behalf of justice for women and girls. We have many activities that are relatively new such as the New Prophetic Sisterhood program and much of our advocacy work, but we need more hands to keep us moving forward.
There are still so many areas of our lives which are unequal and in which women continue to face discrimination and loss of control over their lives. For example, a recent article in Time Magazine compared the lifetime earnings of men in specific occupations with the lifetime earnings of women in the same occupations. In almost every case the men’s earnings were much higher, and therefore their retirement financial security was also much greater. That is, the wage gap between men and women (women still earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man earns), over time, has created huge differences in the comfort and security of our elders who are retiring in large numbers. Women still live somewhat longer than men, so their retirement needs are higher, but their resources are lower. This is just one area in which economic gender injustice has harmed women.
There are many other concerns, including of course reproductive justice, (especially now as SCOTUS considers the restrictive Texas laws), but I merely wanted to point out to you that there is still plenty of gender justice needed!
The role of the UUWF board includes setting priorities, clarifying the vision, stewarding and growing resources and creating meaningful initiatives for the Women’s Federation to carry out our mission on behalf of women and girls. In the UUWF, our board members serve 3 year terms – staggered so we don’t all leave the board at the same time. This year we have two openings and now is the time when we are asking for YOU to consider whether you would like to join our working board as we continue to expand and deepen our work. If you are interested in coming into this hard-working and powerful group of committed feminist UU women, or know someone that you would like to nominate, please contact Rev. Beth Dana, our Vice President for Recruitment and Outreach (firstname.lastname@example.org) or myself (email@example.com). Join us — and bring your feminist convictions to life!
Witness Opportunities Round-Up
Recently, we have taken the following actions:
We signed on to an interfaith letter urging the president and the Senate to fulfill their constitutional duties and move ahead in filling the current vacancy on the Supreme Court.
We were among a number of national faith-based and religious groups that wrote members of a Select Committee of the US House of Representatives investigating Planned Parenthood and other women’s health clinics, asking them to “reject the underhanded, dishonest attempts to discredit abortion providers on the basis of misleading and false accusations.”
UUWF President Kirstie Lewis (along with UUA President Peter Morales and UU minister Debra Haffner, president of the Religious Institute) was quoted in an interfaith press release issued the day of the US Supreme Court on the Texas abortion clinic case, urging the justices to protect abortion access. http://www.ncjw.org/content_12484.cfm?navID=218
Pictured are some of the women (many of whom are from Texas) who participated in the National Weekend of Prayer for Reproductive Justice at the SW UU Women’s Conference in Lawton Oklahoma. Among them are UUWF board member Rev. Beth Dana and former UUWF board member Kathy Calhoun, along with several past and present board members of SWUUW.
More resources: UU Resource Guide Whole Womens v Hellerstedt
Creating Change around Gender Justice
In late January Shaya French, our Clara Barton Intern at the UUA, traveled to Chicago to attend the Creating Change conference to meet organizers from across the country who are working on reproductive justice, LGBTQ and racial justice. She planned an event for Chicago area UUs to share stories about their experiences and understandings of gender. Here is her reflection:
I feel like the conversation around gender has evolved rapidly in the past several decades and tends to happen in separate spheres. My friends talk to me about the challenges and amusing moments of being transgender or non-binary* and I occasionally hear from older feminists about fights to be allowed on an all-boys sports team or gender discrimination at work. But rarely do these conversations about the evolution of gender happen in the same space. I wanted to bring people together across generation and experience. Read more about Creating Change…
Recently, the UUWF conducted a survey of UU women around the country, asking them to prioritize the gender justice issues that most engage them: reproductive and economic justice, domestic violence and the impact of climate change. Additionally, we asked respondents to name ministers (of all genders) who are doing exemplary work in this arena. We will be featuring their stories in the coming months.
This month we interviewed Rev Leah Hart-Landsberg, associate minister of the Fox Valley UU Fellowship in Appleton Wisconsin.
Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg serves the Fox Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship as the associate minister. She grew up in a Jewish and Unitarian Universalist family and has been a child, member, lay leader, staff member and minister at UU congregations in Oregon, Washington, California, New Jersey and Florida. She received her degree from Starr King School for the Ministry, a UU graduate theological school. She co-edited the Skinner House book Jewish Voices in Unitarian Universalism and is a past president of UUs for Jewish Awareness. Leah and her spouse Amy have four children and various pets.
When told she had been named as a praiseworthy minister on behalf of women and girls, Leah said “I can respond with gratitude. I do live my life as a feminist and expect that it would infiltrate my ministry.” Read more about Rev. Hart-Landsberg…
UUWF will have an booth in the General Assembly Exhibit Hall – #104, right next door to UUW&R and The Red Tent, and across the aisle from the UU Humanist Association. We’re looking forward to talking with you there!
Building Bridges from Reproductive Choice to Reproductive Justice with Cecile Richards and Monica Simpson
The Future of Women with panelists Ranwa Hammamy and Rev. Marisol Caballero
UUWF’s Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley Scholaships
These grants provide direct financial support to aspirants or candidates to the Unitarian Universalist ministry, or candidates in the UUA’s religious education or music leadership programs, who identify as women of color, Latina, or Hispanic.
. . . Ministry is what we do together — clergy and the laity. It flows from a religious conviction that invites people to become more of themselves, more whole, as we give witness to a vision of a world transformed by our care. — Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley, January 2005
These annual scholarships are for general support of recipients as they follow their paths into UU ministry, or into UU religious education or music leadership. No post-award accounting of how the funds are used is required.