Women are a powerful force in Unitarian Universalism. Some observers believe they are the key to change through fundamental support for the UN “basics,” health, education, security, livelihood, and leadership.
If you read Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wu Dunn as I do (Half the Sky  and A Path Appears ), you are already aware of the research that supports not only the moral imperative to help women, but their ability to leverage sustainable change for themselves, their families, and their communities. Moreover, when women make their own decisions, set their own priorities, and act, the change sticks.
So, it will not surprise you that an organization of UU women and women of progressive faith—The International Women’s Convocation–has cemented a collaborative enterprise to work with women here in the US and around the world. The latter come from U*U communities in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and North America.
Representatives of many countries will be at the International Women’s Convocation’s (IWC) third gathering in Monterrey Peninsula, California, from February 16-19 this year. If you are a spontaneous risk-taker, fully aware of the political uncertainties in the US today and around the world, you can join us in California. It’s not too late. Go to IntlWomensConvo.org (Get out those frequent flyer miles!)
We like to say that we come together to learn, listen, plan, and act. We will listen to outstanding theme speakers, including Bell Hooks, African American feminist poet, organizer, writer, scholar; a Senior Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation; and a UU Minister who also serves as a Buddhist priest—and many more. We will rock with “Emma’s Revolution,” the fabulous women’s band and singers.
At the first convocation in Houston, in 2009, and the second, in Marosvasarhely, Transylvania, Romania, in 2012, we learned how powerful great speakers and workshops could be. With our international partners, we have opened doors to life-long education, leadership training for women, sustainable employment, women’s rights, health, and violence prevention. We have learned where to act and how to act together.
Today, we look around at the domestic and international political environment and agree, with Hamlet, “The time is out of joint, oh cursed spite that ever I was born to set it right.” But we say “we” for we must come forward together to set the world right and move it toward peace and justice. This responsibility falls to each of us.
We believe that woman power is key to the future we seek. We International Women soon to gather in convocation, are rich in resources and quick of thought. We are set to affirm one another, to affirm our strength, our balance, our focus, our faith.
Barak Obama, in his farewell address, reminded us to say together, “Yes, we can!” Coming together in convocation enables us to say it with conviction: Yes, we can!
Barbara Kres Beach is a member of TJMC who lives in Madison County. She is founding president of the International Women’s Convocation and Honorary Chair of the Third Convocation in California. Write her at [email protected].