Yesterday was Mothering Sunday. For me it was a good day. I had some Face Time with my family, and was able to share a little with my eldest grandson’s birthday, which happens to coincide. I was very conscious of how fortunate I am.
Yet in the previous few days our news and social media have been dominated by the tragic death of Sarah Everard. So many have found a voice to highlight the injustices that are ingrained in our society; to tell their personal stories; to express their anger and frustration that lip service is not followed up by actions to curb aggression in its various forms, or to promote a society where opportunities can increase equity. That is not to say that no change has happened. I can see where there have been changes in my lifetime – in opportunities for women to be educated; to become leaders, for example, but progress is irregular. It seems to me that where some forward movement is achieved towards a more equal society, there are other voices and actions which hold progress back.
One of the stated aims of Methodist Women in Britain is to support women to gain skills, learning and confidence to enable them to participate more fully and effectively in their societies.
A second aim is to fight against injustice. So often these two things are closely bound together.
The past year, as many have said, has highlighted significant injustices right across our society. The disparity of opportunities in education, sport, recreation, holidays, housing and pay. The latter aim is the key to improving most of the former.
There is a challenge for everyone in how we move forward. Some days there seem to be so many issues to be addressed that we are paralysed to know what to do first, and so do nothing. Somehow though we need to mobilise, to raise our voices about the things which limit lives, and keep doing it until we see real impact . Our individual or small group persistence should never be discounted, for when we join with others of like mind the message is louder. I love the Margaret Mead quote ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’
For those of us who believe in the christian message of loving our neighbours, that has been the most effective method of spreading the gospel through the generations. In our society, we have arguably let other voices become dominant. I suggest the answer to improving society lies with each of us.