More feminists are mixing spirituality with social action efforts on an international level, reports Utne magazine (March/April). In what writer Pythia Peay calls the “fourth wave” of the feminist movement, women are moving from private forms of spirituality toward a public expression which affirms women’s bonds across ethnic and religious boundaries, especially since 9/11.
Peay adds that much of this movement is expressed in a series of congresses organized by women religious and spiritual leaders seeking to connect the various local spirituality groups.
Before 9/11, such women’s spirituality groups as Sacred Circles, a bi-annual gathering held at Washington’s National Cathedral, had stressed personal spirituality. But today the meetings are more interfaith and are stressing addressing political, economic and religious differences, particularly religious violence. The founding of the Global Peace Initiative of Women Religious and Spiritual Leaders in Geneva in 2002 is associated with the UN and is attempting to get religious leaders more involved in international peacekeeping.
A recent Women & Power conference in New York brought mainstays such as Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem to speak about a “new paradigm“ that seeks to change the face of power from that of domination to service. Peay concludes that “women are becoming increasingly clear and vocal about the need to integrate an emerging set of feminine-based values into the culture.”