Archive for March, 2011

Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a day where women mobilize “to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women.” This year the theme is Equal Access to Education. Northwestern University’s nod to International Women’s Day is a bake sale to raise money for the high school education of a Kenyan young woman named Dorcas Wairimu, 15.

The non-profit in the video below is not affiliated with the Women’s Center’s campaign but I thought IWD was a good time to shed light on the Maasai population and education issues in Kenya in general. The Maasai people are torn between settling in Kenya or Tanzania as those governments are encouraging them to do or to continue their age-old tradition of being semi-nomadic. Currently there is much debate between NGO’s about how to best preserve the Maasai culture while improving the lives and living standards of the men, women and families in this nomadic and very patriarchal culture. This video presents one perspective

Why should religious people care about the Maasai discussion or International Women’s Day in general?

I think every religious person would tell you that they have considered gender through the eyes of their religion. From hijab to dastar, circumcision to mikveh, many religious offer a gendered view of practice and ritual. In honor of International Women’s Day I thought it would be cool if we considered a few religious feminist organizations and their exploration of gender and religion. Whether you celebrate your gender because of your religion or reject your religion because you think they’re incompatible, please join me in further celebrating International Women’s Day by considering the following links


The Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance’s mission:

The mission of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance is to expand the spiritual, ritual, intellectual and political opportunities for women within the framework of halakha. We advocate meaningful participation and equality for women in family life, synagogues, houses of learning and Jewish communal organizations to the full extent possible within halakha. Our commitment is rooted in the belief that fulfilling this mission will enrich and uplift individual and communal life for all Jews.

The Mormon-Feminist group WAVE: Women Advocating for Voice and Equality’s mission statement:

We will provide a safe place for women and men to discuss their struggles with accepted gender roles and disparities of gender equality in the LDS Church.

Chances are that as you’re reading this people are marching in Times Square to protest the upcoming anti-terrorism hearings that are admittedly targeting Muslim-Americans to prevent “home-grown terrorism” and fight against the “radicalization of Muslim communities in the United States.” I don’t think there could be anything more apropos for my 21st birthday!

A New York rabbi decided enough was enough and contacted his friend Daisy Khan (who came to speak at NU as part of Islam Awareness Week) and they decided to organize the “Today, I am Muslim Too Rally.”  The rally is a model for how interfaith activism can be used to make a more just America.

Follow the excitement here and sign the petition to broaden the homeland security hearings beyond Muslim-Americans.