A Time for Radical Thinking: Discussing the 5th World Conference on Women

“Don’t call it a women’s conference,” Dr. Anele Heiges remembers Gertrude Mongella insisting, in the lead up to what would come to be know as the 1st World Conference on Women. “Everyone should be in on it.” That year, 1975, was the UN International Women’s Year, and the Mexico City based conference focused on women’s contributions to development and peace and the elimination of gender discrimination.

Buttons and flyers for the 5th World Conference on Women

Almost forty years later, momentum for a 5th world conference is getting stronger. In the wake of a statement from the President of the UN General Assembly and the Secretary-General of the UN jointly proposing the convening of a 5th conference in 2015, a group of non-profit leaders and interested community members met in the BCRW library to discuss what such a conference might look like, what it would mean, and how to make it meaningful to young people, many of whom were barely born at the time of the last world conference in 1995 in Beijing.
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The Bishops, the Sisters, and Religious Freedom

Supporters of the Leadership Council of the Women Religious Gather with signs saying "Support the Sisters"

BCRW Acting Director and Chair of the Barnard Religion Department Elizabeth Castelli offers her take on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops‘s published stance on the Affordable Care Act:

Framing their opposition to the health care mandate in terms of religious freedom, it needs to be emphasized, is a strategic move that narrows the terrain significantly: to oppose the bishops’ opposition to the health care mandate requires one to take a position against religious freedom. Well played, bishops.

Castelli goes on to discuss the links between this statement and the Vatican’s call for reforms of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Read the entire post over at The Immanent Frame.