In the Midst of Transition, Women’s Division Head Looks Forward
Harriett Olson, Deputy General Secretary for the Women’s Division, offered an encouraging report to the Board of Directors for their Semi-Annual Board Meeting on October 9, 2009.
Using the theme of the taproot, she expressed how the restructuring of the Women’s Division would branch out from our roots in faith, so that the work of United Methodist Women with women, children and youth can flourish.
“United Methodist Women has faith as just such a taproot,” Ms. Olson said. “As we look at the strategic plan you will see that very clearly.”
Ms. Olson repeatedly noted that United Methodist Women “has work to do.” Besides planning for the new structure, the strategic plan and Assembly, she said United Methodist Women members developing ways to help those in need during this economic climate. "There is a plethora of ways that women, including our United Methodist Women members, are particularly burdened in this economy," she said.
Ending rape as a tool of war and seeing it as a separate violation of human rights is one way to ensure the rights and well-being of women around the world, said Ms. Olson. Supporting women's economic development is another. "Oppression of women undermines development and empowering women can be the start of the flourishing of an entire community," she said.
Ms. Olson was hopeful about the new global developments brought to light, including the United Nation’s new planned agency for women, the U.S. State Department’s changes to its relationship with the United Nations and the review of development spending.
Through these new programs and structures, Ms. Olson reflected, “This is a place at which we can engage and advocate for the primacy of women’s human and economic rights as a principle for administration of foreign aid.”
Ms. Olson also expressed excitement in supporting programs and institutions serving the needs of women, children and youth. “We can help. We can ensure that this work is lifted up and that United Methodist Women members are alert to how they can be the hands and feet of Jesus.”
Read the full text of the report (PDF, 92K).
Leigh Rogers is the public relations executive with the Women’s Division of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries.