Jimmy Carter, former President of the United States and global humanitarian hero, selected the Melbourne Parliament in 2009 to state for the first time (and in no uncertain terms) that the world’s religions must be the catalyst to remedy centuries- long oppression of women and girls, and blaze the trail toward real human rights in the world.
At the Faith In Women plenary on Friday, October 16th, the Parliament stage continued to spotlight the women rising to this call.
Each keynote address escalated the energy in the already-electric room. Parliament Youth Representative to the United Nations, Sara Rahim, commanded the stage as she reflected on her feminist understanding of her Muslim faith, stating confidently that her faith is her call to action. And author and spiritual teacher Marianne Williamson brought a clarion call to the plenary with this powerful truth:
Passionate and free thinking women have never been deeply appreciated by the great religions of the world. Because passionate, free thinking women raise passionate, free thinking children. And passionate, free thinking children grow up to be passionate, free thinking adults. And passionate, free thinking adults are very difficult to manipulate and almost impossible to control.
President of the Union Theological Seminary Serene Jones, feminist Hindu environmentalist Dr. Vandana Shiva, and Sikh activist, lawyer and filmmaker Valarie Kaur each went straight to the heart of why women’s leadership is revolutionary.
“One Billion Rising” Came to the Parliament
In 2012-2013, it was determined by statisticians and civil rights groups that due to the population on Earth, over one billion women would be raped, beaten or murdered in their lifetime. That number continues to increase, and it is a sobering tragedy. However, it was determined that if there would be One Billion Rising, that would be a revolution! Since then, One Billion Rising dance has been celebrated simultaneously in over 207 countries, usually on Valentine’s Day. It is also celebrated on International Women’s Day and other days, where appropriate. This is the perfect dance that engaged women (and also men) to begin the Parliament. One Billion Rising offered a powerful opening through dance. SHEROES United has put this on in downtown Salt Lake City every year since its inception, and joined together trained facilitators, dance instructors, interfaith and women community leaders