A joint JLI – WFDD – Berkley Center Initiative on COVID-19
June 30, 2020 Webinar
Faith organizations and communities play critical roles in the humanitarian response to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Young feminist women of faith constitute an important part of this response, and yet they remain a largely unnoticed and untapped constituency in this pandemic. Even though they are at the forefront of the crisis as health workers and primary caregivers delivering care and services following faith-inspired principles of solidarity and compassion, their leadership is frequently overlooked. They are setting examples of transformative leadership within their faith communities, challenging the limited role attributed to women from centuries of strict interpretation of sacred texts. This type of leadership pushes for new frontiers of advocacy to bring lasting and transformative change that will help safeguard future generations of young women. Young women of faith have important roles to play in the COVID-19 crisis, especially in reimagining a better future. It is crucial to understand the importance of engaging with this key constituency and to amplify their leadership as gender equality advocates in their communities and organizations. One path is to ensure that they tell their stories and that they are heard.
Jamie Medicine Crane, a Blackfoot woman from the Kainai and Piikani Nations in Alberta started off the event with an artistic interpretation of the COVID-19 crisis. Lopa Banerjee, director of the Civil Society Division at UN Women, introduced the discussion. Berkley Center Senior Fellow Katherine Marshall and staff member Ruth Gopin moderated the remaining conversation with Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women, and three young female leaders of their respective faith communities. They considered the strength and resilience that young women of faith exhibit in times of crisis and how to sustain this leadership beyond the pandemic.
This event was co-sponsored by Georgetown University’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs; UN Women; Baha’i International Community; Milstein Center for Interreligious Dialogue; World Young Women’s Christian Association; Anglican Communion; and the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities.