Lent calendar prayer and reflection for 8 March - International Women’s Day
A pure heart create in me O God, put a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 50:3-4, 12-13, 18-19. R. v.19
Today is International Women’s Day! A day when we celebrate the many wonderful achievements of all women around the world and recognise the vital and unique contributions women make to our societies and communities.
In 1991 the Zambian Bishops’ Conference published a document called You shall be my witnesses. They declared: “Zambian women are the backbone of our families and play major roles in our economy, especially in rural areas. Yet in many instances women are treated in ways, which deny our fundamental Christian belief in the basic equality of human beings, a belief founded in the biblical revelation that all persons are created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27).”
The Bishops continue, “The oppression of women in the family, the injustices done to widows, the high incidence of female illiteracy, the exploitation of women for sexual favours, the violence done to women: all these are signs of the denial of basic human rights, an injustice which cries out to our Creator.”
This cry to our Creator echoes in the experiences of women in every nation and reminds us that we still have a long way to go before we achieve global gender equality. At times it can feel like we will never get there; but as I read the Psalm for today my resolve is strengthened and I am reminded that with God’s help everything is possible.
Prayer for International Women's Day
God our Creator, we joyfully celebrate all women today; and we particularly give thanks for the wisdom, strength, courage and skill of the women in our own lives. Put a steadfast spirit within each of us Lord, as we continue to strive for an equal world in which all people are valued and respected. Amen.
Florence is a woman from Zambia who was determined to turn her life around. She is now earning a fair wage by farming fish. Watch our fun animation below in which a fish called Bob tells Florence’s story. Please give or fundraise what you can for our Lent Appeal today.
This reflection was written by Sarah Cadwallader who works with CAFOD’s Regional teams across England and Wales.