Paula believes that, "In mutual conversation across contexts, women have the potential to rethink prevailing economic models and implement others that are relational, mutually supportive, and sustainable."
We hope to have that kind of conversation on March 16, please join us.
Maria and I sat in the sand, talking in our limited Spanish--a second language for both of us. The experience would soon transform my scholarship and worldview. I had gone to Mexico for some rest, but was bored with the resort life. Nearby, an indigenous group from the mountainous region to the southeast had its headquarters for beach vending, and I wandered over to learn more. Several said that I needed to talk with Maria, whom they respected as smart and wise.
A few years younger than me, Maria wanted to know about my education and what I did. She had wanted an education but never went to school, because at age five she had to care for her younger siblings when her mother died. I was an assistant professor with a Harvard PhD in sociology and an Episcopal priest. But when she heard that I was single and had no children, she was deeply saddened on my behalf. We sat together as equals, realizing how much we needed to learn from our varying contexts about how differently women are empowered or not.
Since then, through global feminist movements I’ve sought a way forward in my university teaching and scholarship, past the dominance-marginalization and identity-politics discourses to those that seek to understand one another’s differences and find places of common ground for mutual support. As part of the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council Committee on the Status of Women, 2009-15, we collaborated on resolutions cutting across culture and status, such as maternal health, violence against women and fighting human trafficking, as well as empowerment for both lay and clergywomen. Researching the Anglican Communion’s indaba process during that time, I encountered how empowering cross-cultural women’s constituency groups can be, and the varied ways they’ve sought to improve the status of women. In mutual conversation across contexts, women have the potential to rethink prevailing economic models and implement others that are relational, mutually supportive, and sustainable.