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The Faces of the Girls of the Commission on the Status of Women

United Methodist Women Orientation Devotional

By Rosangela Oliveira

The theme for the 55th annual United Nations (U.N.) Commission on the Status of Women is "Access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women's equal access to full employment and decent work." As I read the report of the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the commission, many faces of women and girls came to my mind:

  • The face of the women who live under the stereotype that women and girls do not like or know math. I'm one of them.
  • The women selling tortillas on the streets of Guatemala or Bolivia wearing an apron with secret pockets to avoiding robbery, women who cannot read but know how to do the math.
  • Women in rural Nicaragua selling bread to the seasonal farm workers at the coffee plantations, bread baked in the community's wood stove made by men but used by women.
  • May the visionary God be upon us and guide us. And may we be in the hands of this Artisan of life, a vase, a new vase.
  • Women in various corners of the world sharing the recipes of herbal tea for headaches, stomach pain, nervousness, menstruation, miscarriage and inflammation—women's traditional knowledge. The indigenous Andean women in Peru or Bolivia lying on the floor on coca leaves as a medicine for altitude sickness or for sacred ritual.
  • The women washing clothes in the river instead of the washing machine at home.
  • The women in Mexico preparing black beans in a plastic bag and bottles of water to give to Centro-American migrants traveling on the roof of the train. The men take the bags and bottles from the women's hands while the train is in full speed.
  • The indigenous Zenu girls and women in Colombia, while sitting in church doing their art with straw that they have to buy because they have no access to land for planting.
  • The women coconut harvesters in Brazil sitting on the floor with a hammer smashing a Babaçu coconut by coconut to take from the plant all the resources it can give. The palms used for the roof or the oil for cooking, while the farmers burn the trees to produce charcoal. They are gatherers not farmers. They fought for a law to ensure access to the Babaçu tree, as they do not have access to the land for cultivation.
  • The university students and professionals in science and technology education that overcame the stereotype barrier but were retained by the segregated labor market.
  • The women in Alagoas, Brazil, like the ones in Haiti, living in plastic tents in a tropical climate without access to their kitchen to feed their family or to the basic sanitation structure, seeing their children and elders dying.

These are some of the women and girls who brought us here. Women who have traditional knowledge that is endangered due to colonization or racial/ethnic discrimination or even to the demands of a global economy. Women like the ones who attend the gender training, community health education, vocational courses we promote in our churches. Young women, students, of our denominational universities.

These women are not silent and do not lose sight. It is for them and with them we are here to advocate, propose and recommend creative policies and to be creators of humanity to the image and likeness of God.

May the visionary God be upon us and guide us. And may we be in the hands of this Artisan of life, a vase, a new vase.

Palavra de adoração/Word of praise
Em nome do Deus da Vida, do Filho de Salvação e do poder do Espírito Santo, damos graças a quem tudo criou em seu amor e gerou a cada ser humano a sua imagem e semelhança.
In the name of God of Life, the Son of Salvation, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, let us give thanks to who created everything out of love and made every human being in God's image and likeness.

Todas: Nós estamos agradecidas. Bendito seja Deus nosso Criador que nos uniu nesta hora de alegria e paz, de desafio e testemunho.
All: We are thankful. Blessed be God our Creator who brought us all together to this hour in joy and peace, in challenge and witness.

Palavra de visão/Word of vision
As Mulheres Metodistas Unidas estão transformando fé, esperança e amor em ação em nome das mulheres, crianças e jovens ao redor do mundo.
United Methodist Women is turning faith, hope and love into action on behalf of women, children and youth around the world.

Todas: Aqui estamos, Oh Deus. Nos transforme em tuas testemunhas de fé, esperança, e amor em ação.
All: Here we are, O God. Turn us into your witness of faith, hope, and love into action.

Fortaleça nossas vozes para que possamos confrontar às estruturas de poder na ONU, nos nossos governos, nas nossas Igejas, nas nossas famílias e comunidades
Make our voice stronger that we can speak truth to power at U.N., at our own governments, at our churches, at our families and communities.

Que sejamos Creadoras assim como Tu és para que juntas podamos dizer:
Todas: "Haja luz!"
Let's us be Creator as You are, so together we can say:
All: "Let there be light!"

Palavra de envio/Word of sending
Canto (Song): "Yo quiero ser/Eu quero ser" ("I want to be")

Oração (Prayer): Oração do Pai Nosso (Lord's Prayer)

Last Updated: 04/17/2014

© 2014 United Methodist Women