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Women on the Front Lines of Defending Democracy

Throughout history and across the globe, women are the inevitable first to lose their freedoms when authoritarians seize power. But women of faith have always been a powerful force in the fight against autocracy, from contemporary protests and civil disobedience to ancient spiritual movements. Today, women are on the forefront of championing freedom and challenging oppressive regimes.  On International Women’s Day, the Women’s Task Force of the Parliament of the World’s Religions is hosting an important and inspiring conversation with women of faith who are bravely active in the fight against autocracies around the world. Please join us in expanding our circle of support and engagement for women of all faiths at this critical time.

Join experienced leaders at 12:00 pm CST on Friday, March 8th for International Women’s Day as part of the FOCUS24 | Faith, Democracy & Our Common Future: Shaping a Path Forward. FOCUS24 is a year-long ticketed interfaith series building capacity, fostering community, and advancing advocacy efforts in this critical “year of democracy.” Join us in shaping a path forward, register today!

Already registered? Visit the FOCUS24 All-Access page to add the event to your calendar.

Featured Experts

Sousan Abadian Teacher, speaker, and consultant on culture change and religious rights.

Dr. Sousan Abadian has an independent practice, teaching, speaking, and consulting internationally on leadership, innovation, and culture change. She helps her clients cultivate inner exponential technologies to enhance their well-being, creativity, resilience, and performance.

Sousan holds a Ph.D. in Political Economy and Government from Harvard University, an M.P.A. in International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School, and an M.A. in the Anthropology of Social Change and Development, also from Harvard University. She has served as a Fellow at M.I.T.’s Dalai Lama Center for Ethics & Transformative Values as well as at the Harvard Center for Public Leadership. Between 2017-2019, she also served as a Franklin Fellow at the U.S. State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, focused on preventing violent extremism.

Jennifer Butler, Consultant, writer, and speaker on religion, public policy, and democracy.

Rev. Jennifer Butler has spent the last three decades strengthening and rebuilding the progressive faith movement. She has dedicated her life to helping individuals and communities ground themselves in liberative spirituality that empowers them to speak out with a faithful voice to change the world.

In 2005, she founded Faith in Public Life (FPL) to amplify progressive faith voices and forge multi-racial, multi-faith and ideologically diverse faith coalitions to work for justice and the common good. In founding FPL, Rev. Jen drew on her decade long experience countering religious extremism with a faithful argument for democracy, the rights of women and LGBTQ people. Her book Born Again: The Christian Right Globalized (Pluto Press) remains a go-to resource for those tracking white Christian nationalism globally.

Rev. Jen Butler served as CEO of Faith in Public Life from 2005 to 2022. Highlights of her work as CEO include mobilizing a multi-state faith strategy to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act and defeating Republican efforts in 2017 to gut the bill. She spearheaded faith based campaigns to defeat fake religious freedom bills at the state level by empowering ideologically diverse religious leaders to oppose discrimination in the name of faith. Rev. Jen also led FPL in the Trump years to draw a bright moral line in the sand against rising authoritarianism and racism.

Rev. HPs. Phyllis Curott, Author, Wiccan high priestess, and Co-Chair of the Women’s Task Force at PoWR.

Phyllis Curott is a spiritual pioneer. As one of America’s first public Witches, teachers and advocates, she has spent more than 40 years helping Witchcraft become the fastest growing spirituality in America and expanding its reach across the globe. Phyllis is an attorney whose groundbreaking cases secured the legal rights of Witches, including the right to form religious organizations, perform legally binding marriages, perform rituals in public places, have religious holidays off from work, retain custody of children, wear or display symbols of faith, and more.

Phyllis is also an internationally best-selling author and the most widely published Witch/Wiccan priestess in the world. The creator of the acclaimed Witches’ Wisdom Tarot with artist Danielle Barlow, her YouTube series What is Wicca? has 3 million views, and her online course Awaken the Witch Within has helped countless seekers discover and deepen their practice of Witchcraft as the modern rebirth of Euro-Indigenous wisdom traditions.