20 November 2012
The power of women to change the world
The organiser of a new global network to be launched today has urged the world to focus its attention on the girls and women in extreme poverty - and away from the explosive issue of women bishops.
A new network called Woman to Woman launches at 6pm in the House of Commons in London.
Woman to Woman, an initiative of Micah Challenge wants to empower girls and women to be change-makers to help the poor by prompting action, prayer and campaigns to help the near one billion women and girls in extreme poverty.
Amanda, head of policy and campaigns at Micah Challenge, said the exploitation of girls and women across the world - the focus of Woman to Woman - is of vital interest to women of faith everywhere.
She said: "Whatever the formal stance on women in leadership within the UK Anglicans, the whole Church needs to support the value and worth of women - all made in God's image - with dreams and hopes, talents and intelligence.
"Woman to Woman is one initiative that seeks to encourage women who believe in God's transforming hope to speak out and take action against injustices suffered by women and girls - like trafficking, sexual violence, maternal deaths, poverty and low status.
"It wants to highlight the wonderful work already being done quietly by women and encourage more women to see the possibilities for advocacy.
"A deeper and bigger debate is one that is not so widely discussed - the status and security of tens of millions of women who still live in extreme poverty and have little power in their homes or in public life."
Ex-Hillsong worship leader Darlene Zschech and Lynne Hybels have endorsed the Woman to Woman network and UK politicians Diane Abbott MP and Caroline Spelman MP will speak about the opportunities and barriers for women in public life.
Woman to Woman organisers hope to remind world leaders of their promises made in 2000 to meet the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
Pastor Maureen Shana from Zimbabwe will also attend the launch.
Maureen said: "It is a tragedy that mums are dying in many poor nations from causes that are easily preventable. Christian women in particular care about families and can be a voice to save lives.
"With maternal mortality shockingly high, women's voices are needed to highlight basic measures that could help save lives.
"We can help girls, especially on the margins, to release their gifts and potential."
Woman to Woman is part of Micah Challenge's wider plan to mobilise Christians to remind world politicians to keep their Millennium Development Goal promises made in 2000 to halve extreme poverty.