Welcome to Gather the Women Global Matrix

Gather the Women Global Matrix™ (GTW) is a global sisterhood that connects women through circles. We create a safe place to share our true selves. Meeting in circle, we find our voices, claim our power, and celebrate our self-worth, leading to personal and planetary transformation.

 

Translations by GTW sisters around the world:

SPANISH
Somos una hermandad global que conecta a las mujeres a través de círculos. Creamos un lugar seguro en el que compartir nuestra verdadera esencia, nuestro verdadero “Yo Soy”. Al reunirnos en círculo, encontramos nuestras voces, reclamamos nuestro poder y celebramos nuestro propio valor, en pos de una transformación personal y planetaria.

 

GERMAN
Wir sind eine globale Schwesternschaft, die Frauen durch Kreise verbindet. Wir erschaffen einen sicheren Platz, um unser wahres Selbst zu teilen. Indem wir uns in Kreisen treffen finden wir unsere Stimme, behaupten unsere Macht, feiern unseren Selbstwert und führen wir persönliche und planetarische Transformation an.

 

DUTCH
De visie van Gather the Women.
Wij zijn een mondiale vrouwengroep dat vrouwen verbindt door middel van cirkels. We creëren een veilige plek waarin we kunnen delen wie we werkelijk zijn. In de ontmoeting in de cirkel ervaren we onze eigen stem, recht en kracht, en vieren we onze eigen-waarde hetgeen ons leidt naar persoonlijke en planetaire transformatie.

 

LUGANDA
Tuli entabilo y’obwaseluganda ebuna ensi yonna nga egetta abakazi okuyita mu buboondo bw’enkulungo. Tutondawo ekifo ekitebenkevu okugabana ekitufu kyetuli mu buntu. Okukunganira mu kaboondo k’enkulungo, tuzuula amaloboozi gaffe, okwediza obuyinza bwaffe, era n’okujaguzza ekyo ekisanira era kyetuli, okututusa kukukyusibwa kw’embeera eyasekinoomu era n’ensi yonna.

 

HEBREW

הצהרת חזון: 

אנו אחוות נשים עולמית המחברת בנות חווה דרך מעגלי נשים היוצרים מקום בטוח לשיתוף כנה ואמיתי. 

הפגישה במעגל מאפשרת לנו למצוא את הקול האותנטי שלנו, את כוחות הנפש הייחודיים, ולחגוג את ערכנו העצמי לכדי טרנספורמציה אישית וכלל עולמית.

 

We invite you to download our Guidelines in How to Form a Circle
Be inspired to create your own circle!

Our Charging Station

barbara-belknap

In a little over three weeks the women will be gathering. Last year, we said our long goodbyes on the shore of an exquisite turquoise lake in the mountains of California. This time, we will greet each other with warm hugs in Rapid City, South Dakota, in the Great Plains. After months of making do with hearing voices on the phone, we will recharge ourselves in person.

A few years ago, I saw a recharging station for electric cars in Seattle. It was the first time I’d seen one and I felt good just knowing it was there. Enough Seattleites were buying electric cars that there were charging stations in convenient locations around the Emerald City. I imagine our annual gathering as a Spirit Recharging Station for all of us.

Crazy Horse distance Gather the Women is growing in leaps and bounds. Mary Cunningham is welcoming women from all over with open arms. Some of those new women, as well as local Rapid City women, will be at Terra Sancta. I am so looking forward to seeing my old friends, meeting our new gatherers, and getting to know more women from the Black Hills country.

I have been deeply touched by Suzan Nolan’s passion about the sanctity of the Black Hills. She called me a while back to see how I was doing, and to make sure I could come to the gathering. As she gave me a brief outline of what we’d be doing, her tone became more serious and reverential as she described the Black Hills. While South Dakota is renowned in the United States for the unfinished mountain sculpture called The Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore, the Sturgis Bike Week, and the recent oil shale boom, Suzan instead spoke reverently of the sanctity of the land, the Black Hills country, itself.

In a National Park Service publication, “The Black Hills as Sacred Ground”, the author writes, “The Indian’s reverence for the Black Hills is very much like the feeling many people on this earth have for the Holy Land, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Mount Cavalry. The Lakota held the Black Hills as a shrine, a sanctuary for both beast and man.”chief crazy horse

That is what I heard in Suzan’s voice, and that is why we are bringing shawls or scarves to cover our shoulders when we go there during the gathering. Just as we would in Notre Dame Cathedral or Saint Peter’s Basilica, we will show respect to this cathedral of nature. I am so looking forward to it that I already have my scarf picked out. It is cushioning my tiny treasures for the miniature altar. Many thanks to the women of Rapid City for all the preparation they are making for us. I can’t wait to be recharged.

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Women's Equality Day

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by Barbara Belknap

Today I wrote a letter to our local newspaper, the Juneau Empire, to mark Women’s Equality Day on August 26. I’m going to repurpose it with some editing for my GTW blog post. It might be a good circle discussion to talk about the status of women’s rights in your state or country.

Many of us are engaged in other women’s organizations and I have narrowed my commitments down to Gather the Women, being a Vision2020/Drexel University delegate, and helping register voters with the League of Women Voters.

Here is what I submitted to the newspaper:

Happy Women’s Equality Day! August 26th was designated as Women’s Equality Day in 1964 during the glory days of the Women’s Movement in the United States. Representative Bella Abzug sponsored the Joint Resolution for a Women’s Equality Day in 1971 to commemorate the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave American women the right to vote.

The road to suffrage for American white women in 1920 was a long and shockingly violent one. (“Iron Jawed Angels” is a great movie about this era.) White women in Alaska were given the right to vote eight years earlier in the Second Organic Act of 1912 by the legislative assembly in the Territory of Alaska. Alaskan Native women (and men), were granted citizenship and the right to vote in 1924. African-American women couldn’t vote in many states until the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed.

Fast forward from the 1920’s to 2014 and there are 20 women (out of 100) in the United States Senate, including Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, and 79 women (out of 435) in the House of Representatives. Women outnumber men in the United States at 50.8%. We have come a long way, but we are nowhere near parity.

Carolyn V. Brown and I are the two Alaska delegates to Vision2020/Drexel University. Vision2020 has five national goals: 1) increase the number of women in senior leadership positions, 2) achieve equal pay, 3) educate employers about policies and practices that enable men and women to share family responsibilities, 4) educate new generations of girls and boys to respect their differences, and 5) mobilize women to vote with a record-setting turnout in 2020.

I’ve been working on equal pay and pay negotiation for several years, and Carolyn, a new Vision2020 delegate, is working on increasing the number of citizens who vote. We are gratified by the progress made for women’s suffrage, but we still have a long way to go until we can celebrate Women’s Equality Day with the joy it deserves.

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Save the World. Gather the Women.

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By Barbara Belknap

My heart is pulled towards the women in war ravaged countries around the world. Today, August 8, 2014, there are Yazidi women on Mount Sinjar in northeastern Iraq clutching their hungry and thirsty children close to them. Some mothers have watched their children die of thirst. The Yazidi are only the latest in a painfully long history of women’s suffering. I do not diminish the suffering or the role of the fathers, but it’s the mothers I wish could be spared the constant impact of warfare.

When Jean Shinoda Bolen wrote, “Gather the Women, Save the World”, the battle for women had already been a long one. I’m taking liberties with the title to this essay, but I think she’d be ok with that.

Women in the Mideast have not started any wars since Cleopatra, but the world has witnessed them bearing so much of the brunt of these conflicts. Watching the PBS NewsHour in June, I saw huge Russian tanks roar through the narrow ancient streets of Baghdad. The alwomeninburqaandboy-Qaeda fighters “at the wheel” were oblivious to the stream of men, women, and children heading away from the fighting. One man’s head was up above the tank’s open hatch and he had a victor’s smile on his face.

My heart broke as I watched mothers fleeing with their terrified children in that narrow space between the rumbling tanks and the walls. Most of the mothers’ faces were completely hidden. One woman, wearing a full black burqa, stays etched in my mind. She balanced a tightly packed woven basket on her head with her right arm, and carried a baby with her left arm. A little girl around four years old had a tight grip on her mother’s billowing robe. Two young boys with curly black hair ran alongside. As a mother myself, I remember thinking, “What if the little girl loses her grip on that robe with those tiny fingers? What if the two boys can’t keep up with their mother, and get lost in the throng of identical burqas?”

There appeared to be just as many women covering their hair with hijabs, leaving their faces uncovered and, in my worried opinion, safer to keep track of their children and vice versa. Meanwhile, the huge tanks were rumbling through the streets just inches away with drivers oblivious to the fleeing families.

I wrote a poem about a particular scene on PBS that I saw that June night that I cannot erase from my mind. I call it “Maelstrom”.

Maelstrom, conflagration, chaos
The mother shrouded all in black flees
A basket holding their lives balanced on her head
Wide-eyed children cling to her robe with tiny hands
Monster tanks are crawling through the ancient streets
Cocky young men with itchy trigger fingers in control
Nothing will be left standing but the oil
and the bitter seeds of another war sown deep.

What can we do? It seems like eons ago now, but Malala Yousafzai is the courageous young Muslim woman who stood up for a girl’s right to an education in 2012. The Taliban responded by shooting her in the face. She was fifteen. In July 2014, the world saw the terrifying leader of Boko Haram and his gang kidnap an estimated 275 girls and threaten any girl who goes to school. By mid-July 2014, Malala was filmed literally striding through a village school in Nigeria with her book under her arm. I heard her saying in a strong voice, “Of course, you must learn how to read.” She met with the school girls, and then took her time posing for pictures with them. That is courage. (http://malalafund.org/blog/)

To finish this on a more optimistic note, I am a long-time member of the PFLAG Juneau Pride Chorus. On Tuesday night, a small group of us met to vote on music for the 2014-15 Season. I was so happy to see that one of those songs is “Malala”. We’ll be singing the version arranged by Joan Szymko. Take a few minutes to watch this short video and feel hopeful that, indeed, we can gather the women and save the world. It’s just going to take some time.

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