Celebrating our faith heroines on International Women's day
Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day.
The struggle for women's rights began at different times around the world and is far from won. Though great strides have been made in many places, this is far from universal. In some faith communities it has only just begun.
It looks today that of the eight Millennium Development Goals, those involving women's rights -- except girls' education -- will be missed by a significant margin. But lack of quality education has already held a generation of women back in the developing world. In much of the world, formal religious leadership tends to be heavily dominated by men, and women are underrepresented in many interfaith forums.
At the Faith Foundation we are taking this opportunity to showcase some of the world's unsung heroes: women around the globe inspired by their faith to work day in and day out to transform their communities, raise their families, promote peace and lift opportunities for future generations often in the most difficult conditions.
Click here to read some inspirational stories about contemporary women of faith, and then send us a profile of your own faith heroine:
Consider women such as Rosali, a community health worker in Mali profiled by Project Muso's Jessica Beckerman. Living in the ninth poorest country in the world, with only an elementary education and struggling to find the funds to care for her children, she was inspired by the impulse in her Catholic faith to care for her neighbours as if they were herself or her family. She became a community health worker, counselling and treating those suffering from malaria in her community. Or Aicha Ech-Channa, who told Katherine Marshall that it was her Muslim faith that inspired her work over five decades to challenge social norms and help unmarried women with children in Casablanca.
Think of women like Sally Becker, profoundly influenced by her Jewish faith and dubbed the "Angel of Mostar" for her bravery in rescuing children from the bombing and vicious hatred they experienced in Bosnia, and who is an inspiration to Rabbi Neuberger. Or Deborah Little-Wyman, profiled by Ellen B. Aitken, Dean of the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University, because of the personal conviction that led her to build a congregation of the chronically homeless after becoming a priest of the Episcopal Church in Boston, Massachusetts.
These stories are a snapshot representing the bravery, conviction, and faith of millions of women around the world -- and we celebrate them today.
Is there a female faith leader you admire? Was your mother or grandmother inspired be her faith? Celebrate them today by sending us a 300-word profile of your "female faith hero" and we'll include the best on our blog: