Catriona Robertson

journeys at home and abroad

Intersectionality: women, faith & secularism


Relaxed venue (hope we’re not confined to the wheelbarrows) at the Southbank Centre for the WOW Women & Faith session.

Two exciting events coming up.

I’m chairing the Women & Faith session at the fabulous Women of the World Festival (at London’s Southbank Centre next Sunday (full programme here).  Questions for the sparky panel (Dina Brawer of the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance, the CofE’s Revd Sally Hitchener, Polly Hurrar of The Sharan Project & others tbc) include How does faith impact on gender equality?  What particular challenges do women of faith face?  Are questions for a faith panel at a women’s event likely to have a slightly different spin from those to a women’s panel at a faith event?

The next evening I’m speaking on Religious and Secular Views Working Together at a south London mosque, with people from the local orthodox synagogue and churches participating.  They’re interested in how humanists/atheists and religious people get along and in the gap between liberal and conservative views within the Abrahamic traditions.  They can’t possibly be thinking of the Church of England.

So, plenty to chew on at both.  Pitfalls galore, especially in relation to what the words mean.  But I’m hoping for lots of participation, stories, reflections, patterns & structures, ideas for action.  And a wide range of wonderful London women & men from different backgrounds, heritage, ethnicity, age, etc.

I’d welcome your thoughts on likely hot topics & how the conversations (both 90 minutes) can be developed, explored, expanded – so that people leave with fresh understandings, invigorated and having made some new connections with people.  Comment here or email me.

And – if you have any striking photos of women which you’re happy to put in the public domain, send them to me asap and I’ll add them to a loop of images for Sunday’s back projection.  If you’re in London and can join us, fantastic.

Update: we had a great session with excellent speakers and questions from the floor.  Here’s the video:

Further update: women/religion/belief/intersectionality group now meeting in central London – let me know if you’re interested.

2 comments on “Intersectionality: women, faith & secularism

  1. Catriona Robertson
    3 March 2014

    Goodness, that paper was a while back! I’m so glad the process worked out in the end, building trust, reducing fear – I’m guessing all that relationship building will have strengthened the Presbytery all round. What was it JFK said about choosing to do the hard stuff, not the easy things, because it measures the best of us?

    I wonder whether the woman-ness or gay-ness will, in practice, outrun the Susan-ness of her ministry, or whether she will just be taken as she is – a jumble of things like the rest of us.

    Your hardworking rural folk are no doubt different in some ways from the urban multicultural local communities in London, but – to my mind – it shows that ordinary people aren’t just there to be improved and told what to do, they/we have a lot to offer, given the chance.

    Great to hear from you! Let me know how things go, love to you both – Catriona

  2. Anne Smith
    2 March 2014

    Thinking of you, Catriona – and was just going to let you know about something pretty momentous here – yesterday, by a landslide, our candidate Susan Thomas was approved for ordination by the Presbytery of Northern New England. She is a gay woman and it has been an incredible journey this past year trying to change minds and hearts of some people in the Presbytery who were trying to put us off the whole idea, cautioning us that “people” might not be accepting, that it would be a very difficult process etc. I several times mentioned your psychology paper from years ago on “pluralistic ignorance” – and indeed it turned out that far from people not being accepting, our congregations of mostly elderly, hardworking, rural, in many ways traditional Christians, were very accepting – unanimous voting! Susan then had to get a 75% majority vote from the whole Presbytery – she got 95% – so she will now be our minister in a month or so. So, thank you, for your unknowing but valuable contribution to the whole process! Love, Anne

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