This Shabbat, as we slow down, disconnect and enjoy the day of rest with family and friends, we also have the opportunity to spend some time to reflect on the status of women at home and abroad.
International Women’s Day (IWD) has been celebrated on March 8th for nearly 40 years. This date, designated by the United Nations, falls during Women’s History Month; taken together, these dates remind us to pause and take stock.
IWD asks us not only to consider broad issues of women’s equality around the world – such as access to education, freedom from coercion, abuse and sexual violence – but also to reflect on our own lives, those of our mothers, sisters, spouses, cousins and friends. IWD is not about hypothetical women’s equality but rather, real and tangible liberty and justice.
The United Nations theme for IWD 2014 is “Equality for women is progress for all,” further reminding us that all people have a stake in the wellbeing, respect and dignity of others. Jewish tradition teaches us that “You shall have one law for the stranger and the citizen alike: for I the Lord am your God” (Leviticus 24:22). Any disparity based on race, gender or sexual orientation violates this concept. It is only hand in hand that we can ensure that women are paid fairly, treated justly and have equal access to opportunities.
There are many important policy angles through which we can address women’s equality. Whether it is paycheck fairness, reproductive rights, paid sick days or violence against women, the Reform Jewish community prioritizes women’s rights. Our moral voice on these topics are crucial to the conversation!
Take action through the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism and encourage your representatives to cosponsor the International Violence Against Women Act!