A blanket that shelters us equally

9 Apr 2021
Zoraya Urbina, LWF Central America advocacy officer . Photo: LWF

Zoraya Urbina, LWF Central America advocacy officer . Photo: LWF

Zoraya Urbina, Advocacy Officer in the LWF Central America country program

This year, the 65th UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) put women’s participation in public life at the center of its deliberations. The theme for this year was Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life and the elimination of violence

The CSW is a vital platform to take stock of progress towards gender equality, accelerate advocacy and create spaces to achieve gender equality in various forms.

Faith-based organizations and churches are, without a doubt, actors of great value in this meeting. Their contribution in working to improve the lives of women is valuable because due to their position in local communities, they are potential change agents who can enable participation and promote and protect the rights of women and girls. Their role in condemning and overcoming gender-based violence cannot be under-estimated.

 Their (Faith-based organizations and churches) contribution in working to improve the lives of women is valuable because in their communities they can enable participation and be promoters of rights. – Zoraya URBINA, LWF Central America advocacy officer

In this context, LWF colleagues, who were part of a bigger ACT Alliance delegation to the CSW had the mission of amplifying the voices of all those who could not participate. As a woman delegate, representing the Gender Justice Community of Latin America and the Caribbean, I have questioned my responsibility to promote an effective understanding of the importance of CSW from the space where I move and participate. I have wondered how to create synergies that contribute to what has been gained so far in achieving rights for all and ensure it does not go backwards.

"Many amplify the cry”

At the beginning, I thought that what I can do is so small that it would not make any impact. However, when I reflected, I understood that I can cause changes, even if they are small, because if my efforts are added to others, they become greater and that is where they grow strong and become a voice that screams so loud that it is impossible not to hear it. It is no longer just one, but many that amplify the cry that calls for equal rights for all people.

When there are setbacks in what has been gained for the full enjoyment of our rights is when we have to commit the most. How is this done in practice? With a few steps, which may not be the simplest:

The first, by training ourselves on the importance of these spaces, installing knowledge and empowering the women of our communities, of our churches and organizations so that our struggle is joined by the of them, conscious, clear and strong, that neither the pandemic, nor dissonant voices are able to stop us or boycott us.

The second, is taking center stage and expressing our positions without fear, with the conviction that only when there is equality for all people, that when women are empowered and feel safe everywhere, when they know that they are masters of their bodies, of their voices, their thoughts, their desires, only then will there be justice.

The third, joining our dreams, ideals and struggles like colorful threads, so that (Here I paraphrase the theologian Luzmila Quezada, from Peru) we knit together a blanket that shelters us from the cold of violence, disrespect, exclusion, misogyny, inequality. This blanket will clothe us with rights, effective participation and a common agenda that allows us to advance women and men, created different but equal in rights.

The Lutheran World Federation participated in the CSW with a delegation of over seventy members from more than 30 countries, lifting up the voices of women and men working as gender justice advocates in different parts of the globe. Coordinated by the Lutheran Office for World Community in New York, participants advocate with government delegations and take part in many public events in collaboration with ecumenical and interfaith partners.

Zoraya Urbina, Advocacy Officer in the LWF Central America country program
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are those of the author, and not necessarily representative of Lutheran World Federation policy.