A Prayer for Women’s History Month

As President Barack Obama officially proclaimed last week, March is women’s history month in the United States:

Women’s History Month is a time to remember those who fought to make that freedom as real for our daughters as for our sons. Written out of the promise of the franchise, they were women who reached up to close the gap between what America was and what it could be. They were driven by a faith that our Union could extend true equality to every citizen willing to claim it. Year after year, visionary women met and marched and mobilized to prove what should have been self-evident. They grew a meeting at Seneca Falls into a movement that touched every community and took on our highest institutions. And after decades of slow, steady, extraordinary progress, women have written equal opportunity into the law again and again, giving generations of girls a future worthy of their potential.

The proclamation goes on to talk about what the administration has done to support women and girls, including signing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, repealing the Global Gag Rule, and including women’s preventative healthcare as part of the Affordable Care Act.  The mention here of Seneca Falls reminds us of the inaugural  name-check of not only that historic moment and place, but two others, which I wrote about in this post on Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall.

Also in conjunction with Women’s History Month, Diann Neu offers this lovely prayer for women leaders around the world.  Neu is cofounder and co-director of WATER, the Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics, and Ritual:

Praise to you, women leaders of the seven continents, for your many works of justice.
Praise to you, women leaders of Asia, for confronting trafficking of women.
Praise to you, women leaders of Africa, for raising your voices to stop AIDS.
Praise to you, women leaders of Europe, for your peacekeeping.
Praise to you, women leaders of North America, for confronting economic inequities and racism.
Praise to you, women leaders of South America, for struggling against U.S. domination of your land.
Praise to you, women leaders in Antarctica, for your scientific research.
Praise to you, women leaders of Australia, for supporting indigenous cultures.

Amen.

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.


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