Across our nation and the world, conversations regarding women are often degrading, demoralizing, and fraught with attack. Everything from women’s health to women in the workplace seems to be causes for debate instead of rights and issues of equality. In recent political conversation, women are not always shown welcome, especially if they are women of color, women of different faiths, or women with disabilities.
As Church Women United, we believe in promoting women of all ages, races, classes, ethnicities, sexual orientations, faiths, and abilities. When it comes to our fellow women, we are inspired by the examples of Ruth and Naomi:
But Ruth said,
“Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge, I will lodge;
your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
17 Where you die, I will die—
there will I be buried.
May the Lord do thus and so to me,
and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!”
– Ruth 1:16-17
By our very nature, Church Women United has long been advocates for women. We are naturally an organization that advocates for women in numerous ways. Still, the ways we have been present to the unfolding history of important moments for women should be noted as some of the most audacious and welcoming gestures our movement has committed.
One of the first actions Church Women Untied voted on, was to give it’s endorsement for Susan B. Anthony to enter the hall of fame in 1945.
In 1972, Church Women United passed by unanimous vote a Statement on Equal Rights:
It was voted to receive and approve the following statement and urge action in every state inasmuch as the amendment will require the affirmative vote of 34 states:
We, 150 church women participating in a National Citizen Action Workshop, urge our elected representatives at every level actively to support and vote for Equal Rights Amendment as passed by the House of Representatives on October 21, 1971.
The myriad of state laws which discriminate against women, complemented by the consistent failure of the courts to interpret the Constitution as guaranteeing equal rights to women, makes passage and ratification of this amendment imperative. While individual court cases might lead to eradication of discriminatory laws, the time and monetary expenditure required make such piecemeal action unacceptable.
Such a process also is unacceptable in that it permits the legislatures to pass new discriminatory laws in the future.
We emphasize that our support is for the Equal Rights Amendment in the form passed by the House of Representatives which states:
“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State on account of sex.”
Any changes in this wording which allow exceptions to complete equality, particularly those proposed regarding military service or “functional or physiological differences,” should be resisted as reversing the intent and legal effect of the amendment.
If final Senate vote is on such a “weakened amendment,” we urge Senators to vote “No”.
As women of 37 state and the District of Columbia, we pledge ourselves to support the efforts of our Representatives to obtain passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and to work actively as church women for ratification by our respective states.
May we continue on this incredible legacy of demanding rights for all women, and all genders, regardless of sex, and regardless of “functional or physiological differences”. May we be radically welcoming, and showcase the beloved kingdom of heaven where all God’s children of every shape, size, and gender are welcomed.