Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World (2019)
Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World (2019)
International Engagement & Building Peace

Each year the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) hosts our Intergenerational Spring Seminar. Our 2019 theme was Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World, looking at how to engage locally and globally to support gender equity, and take action to address the global trends of misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, and other oppressions.

Throughout the seminar participants met in collaboration groups to discuss and process the informational panels and activities. At the end of the conference, each collaboration group submitted a statement which contributed to our annual Spring Seminar Statement. Below is our collective statement from 2019:

2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar Statement

Equity in Action: Gender in an Intersecting World

Whereas...

  • We recognize that white supremacy, the patriarchy, and misinformation about gender equity together create systems of intersecting oppressions that

    • are damaging to the oppressors and the oppressed, and that

    • perpetuate a culture of violence

  • Women and girls are often devalued and subjected to violence

  • LGBTQ people are criminalized in 72 countries

  • Violence against transgender people is on the rise in the United States, especially for transwomen of color, who have a life expectancy of only 35 years

  • Gender inequity exists globally, both within countries and across borders, with widespread costs and consequences

  • According to Kimberlé Crenshaw’s concept of intersectionality, people whose identities make them the target of multiple types of oppression (racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, classism, xenophobia, etc.) experience those intersecting oppressions in compounded ways

And recognizing that...

  • Gender and bodies are not binary nor unchanging, but institutions in society and culture still reinforce gender binaries, causing structural discrimination against non-binary individuals

  • Gender is an artificial construct, but its effects are real, creating barriers and separations

  • Unitarian Universalists believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person and the interdependence and rights of all genders

  • Unitarian Universalists are committed to promoting a goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

  • We believe in equity of access to opportunity regardless of gender, identity, or status

  • We must be aware of intersectionality and how each action we take will affect people differently according to the many identities they hold

  • Our privilege or lack thereof in society is determined by intersecting aspects of our identities; some are visible, some are not

  • International connections can give rise to empathy, compassion, and new ideas

We therefore resolve to...

  • Work towards a grassroots restructuring of world politics

  • Dismantle and deconstruct patriarchy and white supremacy through:

    • Ending legal discrimination and stigmatization around non-binary genders

    • Demilitarizing male culture

    • Lowering the military budget

    • Increasing the education budget

  • Use resources to allow all people an opportunity to develop their full potential, giving equitable support to people of color, women, non-binary, LGBTQ+, and all oppressed people, especially those with multiple oppressions

  • Support and volunteer for candidates whose campaigns are fully inclusive in advocating for gender equity

  • Charge all UU congregations to work with their cities, counties, and states to pass the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

  • Take responsibility for our own learning and growth through reading and media, recognizing the effects of gender inequity on how those media are created and the impacts they have

  • Bring information about gender equity into our schools and empower other youth

  • Demonstrate and teach gender-inclusive language and non-violent language

  • Find the commonality of oppression in our own communities and encourage intersectional solutions

  • Work locally to dismantle institutional oppression

  • Pay attention to inequalities in daily life. Be intentionally, radically inclusive, thinking about who is not present and working actively to ensure that all voices are brought in and heard

  • Join the struggle for others’ rights even if we think their situations do not affect us

  • Bear witness, start conversations, debunk myths

  • Understand that each of us is a part of the solution

  • Speak out when we see inequality of respect and of care

  • Fight for our values.

Affirmed by the participants of the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office Intergenerational Spring Seminar, New York City, 13 April, 2019. 

Resources for Further Engagement

We've compiled resources from some of the presenters for further engagement with this year's Seminar topic. Check out the resources page and stay involved with taking action for gender equity both locally and globally!

Ericka Hart stands holding a microphone during her keynote address at the UU-UNO's 2019 Seminar

Ericka Hart, keynote speaker at 2019 UU-UNO Seminar

Incorporating Intersectionality into Your Activism

Two UU-UNO interns, Alisha Zou and Yasarina Almanzar, wrote about some of the main take-aways from the 2019 Intergenerational Spring Seminar. They reflect on keynote speaker Ericka Hart's engaging activity about privilege and identity: "Without thoughtful self-reflection and deconstruction, we can unintentionally subscribe to and reinforce institutional systems of white supremacy and cultural colonization."

For more information contact unitednations@uua.org.

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