Gather the Women
an article by Sandy Gaser
In March of last year, Women of Vision & Action (WOVA) launched a project - “Gather The Women,” by activating regional meetings in the U.S. and worldwide, in 67 nations, and supporting these connections on their website, "gatherthewomen" The purpose is to connect women worldwide, to listen to each other, to learn from our multiple perspectives, and to share our wisdom for the challenge of stepping into feminine leadership roles around the world. An obvious choice exists in our world today - to see our planetary story as a hopeless crisis, or an opportunity to create a new story.
In October 2003, representatives from twenty U.S. NGO's, as well as delegates from the U.S. and abroad, were invited to attend an international Gather The women conference in San Francisco, Our intent is to become a "Hub of Collaboration" for NGO's, negating the duplication of effort and limited resources. The combined membership of the twenty organizations represented is 50,000. And, we are growing exponentially as this "hub" concept is revealed to media. I believe it is the real possibility for positive social/political change and eventual political clout that is driving the engine.
A workshop offered at the conference addressed the issue of paying attention to what is dying in our culture, i.e. the multitude of imaginary boundaries that separate us as a species, our sense of innocence and invulnerability in the U.S., and the pretense that war will "fix things." The other side of this coin is to look at what is emerging, albeit the new story for this era - a growing sense of connection with people of other cultures, recharging society for participatory democracy, the growth of spirituality, the emergence of communication enhancers, i.e. conversation cafes and cross cultural connection facilitated by the internet.
Our world is changing at a pace that can steal our breath at times. If we continue to live in the old paradigms that are failing, and look to systems that held us up in the past, our prospects are indeed grim. But, there are people, millions of them, who can see where we should be headed as societies, and we should be "talking" to each other.
Imagine a critical mass that no longer accepts the old paradigms. Imagine that we have created a new story for our time. It has begun.
Question(s) related to this article:
Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?,
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LATEST READER COMMENT:
Janet Hudgins has called our attention to the following excellent discussion piece by Mairead Maguire of the Nobel Womens Initiative.
BLOG: “Peace is possible” writes Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire
May 24, 2013
Mairead Maguire won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1976 for her efforts in bringing an end to violence in Northern Ireland. Soon after, she founded the organization Peace People and continues to work in nonviolent peace movements. Mairead is hosting the Nobel Women’s Initiative’s fourth biennial conference, Moving Beyond Militarism & War: Women-driven solutions for a nonviolent world.
I passionately believe peace is possible, and that it is possible for the human family to move beyond militarism and war. Indeed, it is already happening because millions of us have already rejected the ‘bomb and the bullet’ and all the techniques of violence and are working to build a world based on the values of love, equality and dignity for all.
People of the world do not want war. We have had enough of this wastage of human resources and intelligence in feeding the death machinery of militarism while children die of starvation and poverty. These are not the ‘values’ we want to live by, and the human family, particularly women, are uniting our voices as a powerful force to say ‘no’ no more of these destructive policies of bad governance and governments not acting in good faith.
Ten years ago, in February 2003, millions of people around the world said ‘no’ to the Iraqi war and occupation, and since then millions around the world have protested against unjust government regimes, demanding dignity, demilitarization, development, and democracy. These massive peoples movements, for the most part peaceful, are being repressed by government forces whose policies of ongoing militarism, war, inequality and injustice, are being challenged by courageous individuals and global protests of solidarity by civil community, both locally and internationally.
What unites these people’s movements is a new ‘consciousness’ that a good life, with dignity, freedom, fairness and human security, is their right - and by the law of love and logic, the right of every man and woman.
There is more awareness in the age of increased education and advanced communications that we live in a very rich world with enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed. This increased awareness of social, economic and political injustice which is destroying so many people’s lives, is creating deep anger and frustration resulting in non-violent revolution and protest movements to change repressive and unjust systems.
We have seen the Arab ‘spring’ in the Middle East, but also the rise of the ‘Occupy movements’ protesting the quest for profit and perpetual financial growth which has enriched a tiny minority, while causing hardships, despair and devastation particularly amongst the marginalized and poor . . ...more.