LENTEN MEDITATION | What Does it Mean to Focus on Women?
By Lindsay Coates
UN Women reports that the COVID-19 crisis is reversing generations of progress for all people in poverty. Episcopal Relief & Development has found in its work that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, specifically in areas of health, caregiving, employment, poverty and domestic violence. Before the pandemic, the poverty rate for women was expected to decrease by 2.7% between 2019 and 2021. Projections now point to an increase of 9.1%. If we are to build the beloved community, we must focus on women.
What does it mean to focus on women? First, women must be seen and counted. In the feeding of the five thousand in Matthew’s Gospel, we are told that five thousand men were fed, “besides women and children,” who were not counted. If there were family groups, one might assume that women and children offered an equal number of hungry followers of Jesus. Are we counting the women? Is our work to build a beloved community focused on them?
This meditation is a part of the 2022 Lenten Meditations series. To receive the daily reflections, subscribe at episcopalrelief.org/lent.
Lindsay Coates is a nonprofit executive and former civil rights lawyer.