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After Beijing+20

I led several gatherings following our remarkable work together at Beijing+20 in New York City, USA.*

One was a report-back attended by twenty-five female and male Co-Counselors. It included people from different age groups and lots of global majority people. I focused on the highlights of our Co-Counseling workshops at Beijing+20 and some of the debates at the conference about sexism vs. gender equality. In mini-sessions we noticed the ways that sexism is still very much present in our lives.

A couple of weeks later I spoke to the student body of a Catholic high school at a week-long summit on gender (in)equality. Early in my talk I had the females pair up together and the males pair up with each other and everyone take turns responding to the question, “What is your earliest memory of knowing you were female or male?” It was great to hear six hundred students come alive as they listened to each other. I also talked about how we are limited when we imagine God only as male. I said that images of God as female could help us transform systems of male domination, particularly in our own church. Students did a mini-session on “What are the images of God you grew up with?” I talked about how all boys and girls are hurt by systems of male domination.

Lastly I offered a reflection to a group of two hundred and fifty parish and community-organizing leaders, including seventy male priests, from twenty-two states who are preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to the United States. Our work together is being called “Confronting an Economy of Exclusion.” I urged everyone to keep asking questions that would allow us to make women’s issues as visible as men’s. How are global majority and white women impacted by an economy of exclusion? How are global majority and white men impacted by an economy of exclusion? Often the answers are different. Also, the struggles of poor and working-class women go invisible if we’re not specifically asking questions about them. Following my remarks I had people pair up and listen to one another.

My Co-Counseling sessions before, during, and after Beijing+20 have made a big difference in my willingness to speak out about sexism and male domination. Either I’ve become more courageous or it is becoming more fun to bring our Co-Counseling perspectives and listening tools out into my wide-world communities.

Ellie Hidalgo

Los Angeles, California, USA

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 182, January 2016)


* In March 2015, No Limits for Women (a project of the RC Communities) sent a delegation of Co-Counselors to the non-governmental-organization Women’s Forum held in conjunction with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Beijing+20, in New York, New York, USA.


Last modified: 2020-07-17 20:50:52+00