In the same way that slavery was a moral challenge for the 19th c. & totalitarianism was a challenge for the 20th c., the challenge that women & girls face around the world is the moral challenge of our time.

~ Sheryl WuDunn & Nicholas Kristof

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

"Untying the Knot" of Enslaving Ideas/Practices by Emily Nielsen Jones

Chiming in from NYC at the UN Commission on the Status of Women. Enjoying just being part of this incredible stream of female change agents working around the world...

Lots of cool accents & bright colors!

So many "silos" of impressive programming to learn about: girls schooling, maternal health, anti-trafficking/prostitution, anti-domestic violence, anti-early-marriage, anti-FGM, economic empowerment, women's leadership development, "moving men from bystanders to allies", empowering girls, healthy masculinities, going "upstream", the list goes on and on... at some point all these categories blur together & you find yourself just saying dang it let's just stop all these bad things from happening to our world's girls & women!

So so many worthy efforts to invest in not only financially but as an ally in some form or fashion.  The problem can feel so mammoth it is hard to know where to start.  My two cents is to pick one corner of the movement that "grabs you" to peer into & just start learning...

What rings your bell as you peer out into the world with an engaged gender-lens?

The Liberty Bell, as we have described throughout this blog, is a symbol of the universal human quest for freedom & justice.  Wherever you happen to be in the world, look around you... Every single person you see has this same "liberty bell" inside of them.  Sometimes it gets stifled by life circumstances but, as we have seen in every generation, there is NO ONE whose soul comes into the world willingly embracing a life of enslavement, submission, or being classified as a subordinate, "lesser than" rank of human beings meant to be under the rule (even benevolent) of another benevolent rule.  Certain issues today like human trafficking are such frontal assaults on our collective liberty bells that they are awakening a new call to action to begin the unfinished work of abolitionism. The liberty bell is ringing for many human beings today in repressive conditions around the world, but I submit : ) that it is ringing most loudly today not for a particular minority group but rather for the female half of our global human family which is still struggling to be free of social forces which silence their voices, demand their submission under male authority, keep them out of decision-making roles & commodify their bodies.

What is "ringing my bell" right now is the overlap between two promising global movements: anti-trafficking & anti-early marriage. Both problems have become normalized practices in many places around the world and both involve the sale/transaction of (mostly female) bodies. What is in fact most problematic about both problems (i.e. that they are not just the result of "bad guys" out there but involve parents & families as a central part of the "transaction") is also the key to the power of these movements: addressing & transforming the deeper normalization of the attitudes/practices which make girls bodies into a commodity to sell/rent to a pimp or a an older husband.

Another term for "early marriage" that to me captures vividly the reality of the problem is "enslaving marriage". Many people today have jumped onto the anti-trafficking band-wagon and many are getting engaged around this promising new anti-child marriage movement. Check out this link for an overview of the global Girls Not Brides effort:

For most of us, child marriage is a faraway, far-removed reality that may seem irrelevant to other more pressing concerns in our lives.  But if we look closer, is there a thread which ties this to other gender issues closer to home?

One line ringing in my ears from a World Vision forum on early marriage: "Around the world, female oppression is all one big continuum, whatever program "silo" you are working in, whatever country or religious you are in, it all that stems from a low valuation of females."

Hearing this from women working out in the field confirms what I already know from my more removed work doing "gender-lens" philanthropy. My job is to step back from any one particular program or effort and think about the drivers creating the horrific gender mess we are in and the drivers that hold the most potential not just to patch things up but to get the deeper roots creating the problem. With something like early marriage and FGM, things that are a normalized traditional practice, not just run-of-the-mill random-acts-of-violence, you can see very clearly the "enslaving ideas" which underly the "enslaving practice" of selling/transacting female bodies.

 Random outbursts of violence have their own course of treatment, i.e. anger management interventions and the like. On a macro-level the work of elevating the status of women begins with peeling back the layers of the onion to see and address and transform the "enslaving" ideas" which devalue/restrict females which underlie the "enslaving practices" (i.e. trafficking, child marriage, etc) we all seek to combat.

 It is an inescapable reality that Religion has been & is complicit in these enslaving ideas/practices which continue to devalue girls/women.

 It is an inescapable reality thus that Religion must be complicit in the solutions of creating a more safe, just world for girls & women. I pass along this study released today by World Vision on the rise of early marriage in insecure places around the world & efforts to rid our planet of these cruel injustice which robs girls of their childhoods.

1 comment:

    When God told Abraham to sign the covenant of the flesh, he circumcised all the male children and he was
    circumcised. GENESIS 17: 1-27 When God told Moses that the Children of Israel shall not circumcise their
    girls, the message was given in a spiritual language and bore two warnings. The
    Israelis parent shall not sexually mutilate their daughters and fathers were
    commanded not have carnal knowledge (incest) of their daughters making them
    prostitutes. The evil cutting is done in honor of the dead. The covenant of the flesh for a man child is with ease to behold with no ill feelings or regrets with no medication required afterwards. Fgm is a satanic sacrifice to a woman of secrecy with miseries and constrains of disgrace to behold accompanied by many cases of traumatic child delivery requiring medication.
    Girls who face the evil cut become prostitutes on alter of satan sadly without their consent
    which pollutes the land.
    Leviticus 19:28-29. Israelis girl child remained a land fenced, a spring shut up and a blessed fountain sealed in divine state.
    Song of Solomon 4:12, Proverbs 5:18-19.
    Israelis women remained lively and delivered goodly children easily a state known to Pharaoh and he agreed with the midwives reply. Exodus 1:15-22. God has promised our beloved sisters save child delivery. 1Timothy 2: 15. Man is commanded by GOD to give his
    wife her conjugal wrights for its a shared joy. 1Corithians 1:1-4. Her bone is left in the air to dry like wood. This is not circumcision.
    FGM makes a woman a land without fence and a well without a cover. Song of Solomon 4:12
    They view God at fault for providing the girl child with an active sexual organ a source of immorality . The fleshy coals are provided for marriage. 1Corithians7: 9 .
    The seed of evil is planted and watered by parents. Men can overturn the suffering girls go through in FGM over night when they are not habitually cheated on issues concerning FGM. They will take a firm stand that girls atrocities in FGM resulting in life time suffering is not their joy and refuse sharing wives with Satan in FGM. No trade can exist without customers. When men have true caring love and holy concern for our beloved sisters, Satanic sacrifice in FGM will be an issue in the forgotten past. Men ought to know in FGM that the devil has invaded the sanctuary of marriage and defiled the fountain. Let your fountain be blessed Provebrs5:18-19. Men bear the automate change over. Amen
    It is hypocritical and mockery for parents in Church of Christ to spend their early marriage life in double standards live to perpetuate FGM and live in their twilight years as devoted loving caring parents having soiled their hands with the blood of their daughters in a well intended time staged managed shedding of blood and flesh of their daughters in FGM in early marriage life for demonic chastity sacrifice acceptance .Let all Children of Abraham by faith join in spiritual circumcision. Colossians 2: 8-12. Roman2:28-29 .When faithful Abraham the father of faith was commanded by God to be circumcised at 99 years old with his son Ishmael at thirteen years old, he obeyed
    God. Sarah and Hagar were not circumcised or any girl child since there is no women circumcision with God. GENESIS 17: 1-27