by Sylvia Thorson-Smith
The 1980s were marked by a rise in awareness about women’s issues. Both United Presbyterian Women (UPCUSA) and Women of the Church (PCUS) included advocacy as part of their leadership responsibilities. Women were enrolling in and graduating from seminaries in record numbers, and women were on the leading edge in developing feminist, womanist (African American), mujerista (Latina), Asian and Native American theologies. General Assembly, synod and presbytery advocacy groups sponsored numerous gatherings that included diverse theological presentations and creative liturgies.
Many of these emerging theologies were developed by women rooted in the Reformed tradition; however, ecumenical and interfaith networks linked Presbyterians to women doing theology and advocacy in other traditions as well. Increased debates over exclusionary ordination policies regarding lesbians and gay men moved COWAC to invite Sandra Brawders to a meeting where she spoke about “coming out” as a lesbian seminary student on the floor of the 1978 General Assembly. Women’s advocacy groups began to understand the importance of dismantling interlocking forms of oppression and making the connections between sexism, racism and homophobia-heterosexism.
What did women's advocacy become in the 1980s and 1990s—and what is it today? Find out by reading the full text of this article in the January/February 2007 issue of Horizons!
Call (800) 524-2612 or subscribe to Horizons or order the January/February 2007 issue (HZN-07-200; $4 plus shipping).
Sylvia Thorson-Smith lives in Tucson, Arizona. She serves as an elder at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church and a liaison member from Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association (PHEWA) to the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns (ACWC).
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