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Mind the Gap: Gender Equality in the 21st Century

Mind the Gap: Gender Equality in the 21st Century
March 5, 2018 Judith Simms

World Federation Day 2017

On Saturday 28th October, around 50 people gathered at the Side Door Methodist Church, Grimsby to celebrate World Federation Day. The theme was ‘Mind the Gap–Gender Equality in the 21st Century’, based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5, Gender Equality.

We were welcomed by the warm hospitality of a fantastic team who helped us with our technical equipment, moving furniture, music for our worship, and provided us with a wonderful lunch and refreshments.

The opening worship was led by Rita Rowe, the MWiB Forum Rep for the Lincolnshire District and Nina Rawlins, the Rep for Northampton. This was followed by a Bible study led by Carolyn Lawrence, the Vice President for the Britain and Ireland Area of WFM&UCW, based on a reading from Galatians 3:26-29 on the theme of ‘One in Christ.’ Carolyn spoke about how we find true equality when we discover our true identity in Jesus as beloved and valued children of God.

There followed a keynote speech from Alison Judd, the World President of WFM&UCW. She spoke about issues of gender inequality in our own country and across the world and shared experiences  of her recent  visit to Zimbabwe  to celebrate  40 years of autonomous mission in the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe.

After a delicious hot meal there was opportunity to participate in four different workshops.

Rach Collins, the former Helen Kim Memorial Scholar (HKMS), presented a workshop on the theme of Female Genital Mutilation. She encouraged those present to write to their MPs to ask for education and awareness of FGM to be part of the school curriculum.

Emily Shurmer from Middle East Media spoke about the work the charity is doing in the Middle East and North Africa using creative media. In culturally appropriate ways they are seeking to raise awareness about child marriages and to encourage the worth and self-esteem of women, helping them to gain confidence and make positive decisions in their lives.

A third workshop was delivered by Tim Baker from All We Can, who shared the work that is being done amongst some of the most vulnerable and poverty stricken people in the world, many of whom are women. He told the stories of projects in Cameroon and Zimbabwe which are helping women to lift their families out of poverty and giving them dignity and self-worth.

The final workshop was led by two local ladies from the North East Lincolnshire Women’s Aid, who talked about issues surrounding domestic violence in the UK and how they are working to help women who suffer in this way. They also dispelled some myths and raised awareness about an issue which many are reluctant to talk about.

The day concluded with closing worship led by the President of MWiB, Sandra Goodwin, which included prayers of intercession about some of the topics from the day.

At the end of an interesting and inspiring day, participants went away armed with lots of ideas about practical ways they can take action and show God’s love for all people in this country and across the world.