Salvation Army women team with UN
While celebrating Home League Centenary Army sends delegates to United Nations meeting.
This February, in the opening of the hundredth year of women’s Home League groups in The Salvation Army, 11 international women Salvationists will travel to New York to attend the 51st Session of the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women to discuss the elimination of discrimination and violence against girls.
Launched by Florence Booth in East London on January 28, 1907, Home League has long empowered women worldwide—today with more than half a million Home League members in 111 countries.
Specially designed to mark the centenary, the logo, While Women Weep 2007, serves as a reminder that there is still a need for women to join together in prayerful concern and creative endeavor. The logo recalls the words of William Booth in his last public address: “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight—I’ll fight to the very end.”
In addition, two new inspirational books will be published. Seasons, by Major JoAnn Shade, explores the life of women in leadership, drawing on the author’s own experience in 30 years as a Salvation Army officer in the USA, and For Such a Time is a biography of the young Florence Booth by Lt. Colonel Jenty Fairbank, one of the Army’s best-known writers and historians.
In preparation for the UN Commission meeting, The Salvation Army signed a written statement prepared by the UN Vienna Non-governmental Organizations Committee on the Status of Women. The statement—full text at www.salvationarmy.org—includes the following recommendations to governments:
• Ensure that law enforcement has adequate resources and training to respond to violence against the girl child, to respond quickly to incidents of violence with compassion, understanding and respect and to patrol public places and streets;
• Provide timely and effective resources and appropriate support to victims of violence, including safe shelter and free access to medical and psychological treatment;
• Introduce and enforce legislation making religious and traditional practices which harm girls illegal, including female genital mutilation, under-age marriage and forced abortion;
• Severely penalize those who benefit from the sexual exploitation of the girl child, including prostitution, sex tourism, pornography, mail order brides and exploitation via the internet.
The Salvation Army supports these goals now just as in the days of Florence and Bramwell Booth, key leaders in the early days of the Army, who were activists in the fight against sex-trade trafficking—helping to pass in 1885 the United Kingdom Criminal Law Amendment Act, which raised the age of consent to 16.
Report by Commissioner Helen Clifton World President of Women’s Ministries