A prayer for International Women's Day 2022

Today, Tuesday 8 March, marks International Women's Day, a day celebrated by millions across the world. Here, Very Rev Dr Susan Brown, convener of the Church of Scotland's Faith Impact Forum, shares a prayer she has written to both celebrate the past achievements of women around the world, and to acknowledge the work still needed to forge a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

A group of women together.

"How often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings." Matthew 23:37/Luke 13:34(b)

In the brokenness of a world,
painful for so many,
we run to the open wings of Jesus the mother hen,
who longs to gather her chicks under her wings.

Lord Jesus,
You are a place of safety for everyone –
but especially for the most vulnerable.

As we celebrate today,
the achievements of women throughout the world,
we recognise that in the past,
and even yet,
those achievements are overshadowed
or downplayed
because of a skewed gender bias.

Or is it prejudice?

As we celebrate women in business and science,
in the arts and medicine~
and in homes and fields and kitchens,
we acknowledge the societal and cultural influences
that treat women as second class.

In every education denied;
in every female demeaned,
in every girl used and abused for her body,
we diminish our own humanity.

Please forgive us.

Lord Jesus,
Your open wings, are welcoming –
and that welcome exposes your breast.
You are willing to risk loving
even when it makes you more vulnerable.
Help us we pray,
to be ready to follow your example.
Inspire us to care selflessly
and generously,
without counting the cost.

Simply because all people,
in Your eyes,
are worth loving
for all eternity.
In your name, Lord Jesus, we pray.
Amen

The Kirk's work in tackling violence against women, girls and children

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias, encouraging us to imagine a gender equal world, free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. As a Church, International Women's Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the past achievements of women locally and globally as well as to highlight and examine their stories in our Scriptures and our Church's history.

The Church of Scotland's Violence Against Women Task Group, Integrity, supports the Church to tackle violence against women, girls, and children. We work within the Church, with key ecumenical and interfaith partners, with wider civil society, and within our communities and congregations to develop resources and tools.

Integrity's next free training event on Wednesday 30 March from 6:30pm-9pm is open to all congregations looking to increase their knowledge, build confidence and help prevent violence against women and girls.

The online event will invite participants to explore the topic of violence against women with the support of an experienced professional.