JAG Volunteers organising gifts at the House of Welcome

International Women’s Day 2021

This weekend’s image of the young Josephite volunteers at the House of Welcome, as they began to sort the many gifts received for refugee families and those seeking asylum, struck me yet again, as I realised I had once again underestimated the generosity of those who have worked through this COVID time for a more equal future and recovery. These young people, with their enthusiasm and generosity, not only inspire us; they give us hope that a new world is possible.

This Year’s International Women’s Day has as its theme: “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.” It reminds us of reciprocal realities – that we are galvanised by the leadership of women such as these young members of the Josephite Action Group (JAG), while facing the call for an equal future within the starkness and challenge of the current climate:

An equal future for women in politics
An equal future for those suffering domestic violence or sexual abuse
An equal future for those in aged care
An equal future for First Nations peoples, for refugees and those seeking asylum, for temporary migrants and international students
An equal future for women in Church, where we continue to struggle for full inclusion
An equal future for women across the globe
An equal future for all on Earth, and indeed a future for Earth itself

International Women’s Day reminds us that we must keep hope alive. We must “choose to challenge. In all the above areas, women have taken up the baton and assumed leadership. In all these areas too, we have been gifted by their passion, compassion, generosity and commitment. And as we take joy in the wonderful young people who launched into the immediate task of sorting and organising the gifts given to the House of Welcome, we too are urged to take up leadership wherever we are, in this COVID-19 world – with joy and hope, and with gratitude for the leaders who inspire us to pick up the baton and choose to move forward together.

Jan Barnett rsj