Reflections on the Social and Ecological Impacts of Religious Patriarchy

Vol. 2, No. 2, February 2006

Luis T. Gutierrez

Humanity is currently on a global journey from patriarchy to solidarity, sustainability, and sustainable human development. The Solidarity & Sustainability newsletter is a series of reflections on how to mitigate patriarchal barriers to human development and, in particular, how to overcome the enormous obstacles caused by religious patriarchies. The newsletter integrates existing and emerging knowledge (empirical evidence, tradition, relevant experience, wisdom) to show that true religion radically transcends the patriarchal mindset. In fact, true religion always enhances human development, and should never be an obstacle to it. The "Millennium Development Goals" of the United Nations are used as a point of reference.

Theme of this Issue:
Sustainable Human Development


The term "sustainable development" has been used so much, and conveying so many different meanings, that it has becomes a "buzz word" that everyone uses without really understanding what it means. Indeed, it means different things to different people. It is often used to mean continued economic growth and material consumption, under the implicit assumption that some miraculous new technologies will be able to sustain wealth accumulation while, at the same time, bringing ecosystems back to health. This is like wishing to "eat the pie and keep it too."

In this research project, the term "sustainable human development is used, with the emphasis in each human being and all human beings. Sustainable human development is ecologically sustainable, but the goal is to develop the full potential of each and every human being. The goal is integral human development at all levels: physical, intellectual, psychological, spiritual. This goal is both feasible and ethical. There are limits to material/physical growth. But there are no limits to growth in knowledge, emotional maturity, and the spiritual life. There are limits to "outer" (physical, socio-economic) human development. But there are no limits to "inner" (emotional, spiritual) human development; and there are no limits for each and every human person to find inner peace and fulfillment by giving h**self to others.

This issue reconsiders our conceptual process model and starts digging for a more analyzable model of sustainable human development. The scope and meaning of "human development" is discussed in oder to remove (to the extent possible) ambiguity and establish "inner" human development as the top priority once the basic needs of "outer" human life are met. Continued patriarchal resistance to solidarity and sustainability in the southern and northern hemispheres of the planet are briefly surveyed. An appeal is again made for reflection and meditation on the critical issues of solidarity, sustainability, and gender equity.











"The system of patriarchy is a historic construct; it has a beginning; it will have an end. Its time seems to have nearly run its course -- it no longer serves the needs of men and women and in its inextricable linkage to militarism, hierarchy, and racism it threatens the very existence of life on earth. .... As long as both men and women regard the subordination of half the human race to the other as "natural," it is impossible to envision a society in which differences do not connote either dominance or subordination." [01]. In other words, the path from gender inequity to gender equity leads to a fundamental change in all human decisions. In the context of the process model we are using, it leads to a radical and pervasive change in the structure and behavior of all psychosocial feedback loops.

Since human nature is "gendered to the core" [02], it follows that gender inequity is the most fundamental of all inequities. Just as all branches of a tree grow out of the trunk and are fed from a common root, all social inequities derive from the common root of gender inequity. Gender equity is the door that opens wide the way toward new possibilities for justice and peace at all levels. If gender equity becomes normative, why shouldn't racial and ethnic equity also become normative? Why shouldn't peace with justice also become normative? Why shouldn't ecologically sound policies also become normative? When significant progress is made along this path, who needs patriarchies anymore? Existing patriarchies will not change; they are incapable of self-destruction. But when existing patriarchies die, who needs any other patriarchies? Gender equity is better. Racial and ethnic harmony is better. Peace with justice is better. It will be a much better world; and it will be sustainable. Figure 1 attempts to capture these ideas.




Human Person

Human Habitat


Figure 1 - Gender Equity Changes the Behavior of Feedback Webs and
Prevents the Perpetuation of Patriarchy

The inner journey of each human person also passes through the gender equity threshold. Gender equity is as indispensable for inner human development as it is for social human development. The man who fails to recognize the "woman" in him, or the woman who fails to recognize the "man" in her, can hardly advance in the spiritual life. For there is both masculinity and femininity in God (Genesis 1: 26-27). Authentic spiritual development reaches inward to both the "divine masculine" and the "divine feminine" abiding in the "inner web" of each human being. Else, men and women cannot become what they already are, images of God. Any human development that takes care only of the social dimension, and ignores the spiritual dimension, is utterly incomplete.

Figure 1 is of course a highly conceptual model. It is useful to explain the hypothesis about the criticality of gender equity. But it does not show cause-and-effect relationships between specific socio-ecological variables. Indeed, any attempt to account for such relationships in detail would lead to a web of variables and feedback loops so complex that we cannot even beging so think about them. Having said this, however, curiosity impels us to dig deeper in the hope of identifying what are the crucial variables and dominant loops that control progress or stagnation in the journey toward solidarity, sustainability, and human development.


A very useful method to search for key variables and cause-and-effect relationships (both open-loop and closed-loop) is the "causal loop diagram," or CLD [03]. Figure 2 shows an initial attempt to do a CLD for deeper exploration of the conceptual process model. It should be stressed that this is an initial attempt, not a "definitive" CLD. For systems of any complexity, a succession of such diagrams is generally required before there is convergence on the variables and loops that drive the dynamic behavior of concern. This succession of CLDs unfolds at the edge between the sciences and the arts, and the process toward a diagram that "holds water" is not unlike "the potter's method" described in the Book of Jeremiah [04].

[CLD1] Figure 2 - Causal Loop Diagram (CLD) Showing the Basic Blocks of the Process Model, the Patriarchal Addictions (Yellow Blocks), and the MDGs (Numbers in Brackets).

The notation used in Figure 2 is as follows: Nodes are shown as rectangles and designated by capital letters. Links are shown as directed arrows with a (+) or (-) sign. Arrows from A to B with a positive sign mean that B increases (gradually, over time) when A increases. Arrows from A to B with a negative sign mean that B decreases (gradually, over time) when A increases. Feedback loops with none or an even number of negative signs are "reinforcing (growth) loops. Feedback loops with an odd number of negative signs are "balancing (stabilization) loops. Over time, some of the plus signs may change to minus signs, and vice versa. There are a number of interlocking feedback loops in this, relatively simple, causal loop diagram. Computer simulations could be used to understand how dynamic behavior is generated by the feedback loop structure. But it is wise to use these diagrams primarily for qualitative analysis. In terms of gaining understanding, crunching numbers has limited value when dealing with complex socio-ecological systems. But CLDs are often helpful in isolating the root cause of undesirable modes of dynamic behavior. They are also helpful in suggesting ways to remove the root cause and improve behavior by changing the feedback loop geometry.

In this preliminary CLD, the following feedback loops are included:

Loop 1:

Loop 2:

Loop 3:

Loop 4:

Loop 5:

Loop 6:

Loop 7:

Loop 8:

Loop 9:

Loop 10:

Loop 1 is a reinforcing loop that consolidates the patriarchal mindset at the expense of supressing gender equity and progress toward solidarity and sustainability.

Loop 2 is a reinforcing loop that consolidates the patriarchal mindset at the expense of human health and the integrity of the human habitat.

Loop 3 is a reinforcing loop that attempts to improve gender equity and sustainable human development within the limits imposed by loop 1.

Loop 4 is a reinforcing loop that attempts to protect and improve human and ecological health within the constraints imposed by loop 2.

Loop 5 is a reinforcing loop that consolidates the intrinsic unity between solidarity and sustainability under the constriants imposed by loops 1 and 2.

Loop 6 is a reinforcing loop that consolidates the patriarchal mindset by recourse to a fundamentalist religious mindset and religious violence.

Loop 7 is a reinforcing loop that augments the dominance of loop 1, again at the expense of human health and the integrity of the human habitat.

Loop 8 is a reinforcing loop that attempts to improve gender equity via better education of boys and girls, men and women, but under the limiting effects of loops 1 and 6.

Loop 9 is a reinforcing loop that augments the triple addiction at the expense of peace, education, gender equity, and both human and ecological health.

Loop 10 is a reinforcing loop that augments the triple addiction by ineffective "assistance" and "charities," at the expense of perpetuating poverty and population growth.

Table 1 - Summary of Loops in the CLD

All the loops are of the "reinforcing" kind, an indication of a system in transition with no stability reference point. It is noteworthy that node B, "Gender Equity," is part of eight of the ten loops (loops 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9), and it is only one node away from loop 5 and two nodes away from loop 10. The effects of gender inequities propagate to loop 5 via node C ("Solidarity Ethos"), and then to loop 10 via node D ("Sustainability Ethos"). A reasonable conjecture is that loops 1 and 10 are the currently dominant loops. Loop 1 continuously reinforces the patriarchal mindset. Loop 10 is continuously reinforced by loop 1's suppression of solidarity and sustainability, and in turn continuously reinforces the triple addiction to "Wealth Accumulation" (node G), "Absolute Power" (node S), and "Wordly Honors" (node K). In this CLD, however, it is hard to see any options pursuant to the mitigation of patriarchy, which is the root cause of the triple addiction. Should we have an explicit linkage from "Patriarchy Mindset" (node A) to nodes G, S, and K?

Many other questions come to mind. For instance, in the CLD of Figure 2, the secular and religious sides of patriarchy are lumped together. Should they be separated? What if there is also a negative link from node B to node E? We would have another reinforcing loop, A-B-E-F-A. Is the struggle with patriarchy an exercise in futility? No. As Gerda Lerner has pointed out, "the system of patriarchy is a historic construct; it has a beginning; it will have an end. Its time seems to have nearly run its course -- it no longer serves the needs of men and women and in its inextricable linkage to militarism, hierarchy, and racism it threatens the very existence of life on earth" [01]. Lerner's historical perspective is now widely recognized as the cornerstone for all human development initiatives [05].


Let us keep in mind that the quest is for human development at all levels -- physical, intellectual, emotional, spiritual. Let us also keep in mind that there are no intrinsic limits to human development in the intellectual, emotional, and spiritual dimensions. There can be, however, constraints imposed by regressive social structures, such as patriarchy. Such constraints become operative through the triple addiction to wealth accumulation (node G), absolute power (node S), and worldly honors (node K). This happens, for example, when a combination of G, S, and K lead to criminal activity by "organized crime" such as the drug cartels and organizations engaged in weapons trafficking, human trafficking, etc. Figure 3 provides a clear picture. In brief, human development is significant and sustainable in the absence of organized crime; else, it is marginal and unsustainable.

Figure 3 - Impact of Organized Crime on Human Development
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, April 2004


Sustainability is a concept. It is also an ethos. Sustainable development is the action that follows from the sustainability ethos. Sustainable development is not about allowing economic growth and material consumption to increase forever. It is about shifting from economic growth to human development as the first priority. Economic development remains an important second priority, but on the basis of supporting, and not interfering with, the first priority. Economic development thus becomes geared to satisfy the physical needs of humanity in such a way that the human habitat is preserved and, to the extent possible, enhanced. But economic development must always support the first priority, which is to develop boys and girls, men and women, to their full potential not only physically, but also intellectually, psychologically, and spiritually. Thus the emphasis on sustainable human development.

Indeed, hungry children must be fed before they can be sent to school. Hungry adults must eat before they can work. Sick people (those who are not terminally ill) must recover their health before they can make a contribution to society. In such cases of extreme poverty and poor health, economic development becomes temporarily a second first priority, until the basic human needs are satisfied. People lacking the bare necessities cannot remain in scholl for long, let alone embark on the inner journey. But again, economic development is a second first priority that must be pursued with the ultimate first priority in mind. The goal of economic development should never be wealth accumulation beyond what is required for a simple, productive, and healthy lifestyle. Fat bank accounts often lead to extravagant spending; they seldom lead to the inner journey and spiritual growth. Developing the inner human person is the straight and narrow path to solidarity and sustainability [06].


The mitigation of patriarchal resistance to gender equality has started in Australia and New Zealand. But patriarchy remains mostly unchallenged elsewhere in the southern hemisphere. In Latin America, only a tiny minority has been able to overcome the "machismo" mindset, though the recent election of Michelle Bachelet as president of Chile is a sign of hope. The husband-father also remains the "head of the family" in southern Asia, especially in Islamic societies that reject the notion of husband-father and wife-mother as a partnership in sharing the gift of love and the gift of life. Female infanticide and bride burning practices continue unabated in some countries. Perhaps the worst case is Africa [07]. In Africa and elsewhere, the patriarchal mindset of the colonizers exacerbated native patriarchal practices, with nefarious consequences that still block progress in economic development, not to say human development. Most of the local/regional religious institutions tacitly bless such practices, either by blessing them or by avoiding the issue[08].


Patriarchal resistance to change also continues in the northern hemisphere, with many secular institutions in most countries tearing down the barriers well in advance of religious institutions. In Figure 3, it is noteworthy that most of the the nations with a high human development index (and low organized crime index) are northern nations. The geographic clustering is not so clear in the nations with low human development index and high organized crime index. It is also noted that the USA has a high human development index and also a pretty high organized crime index. Apparently, wealth accumulation and extravagant consumption cancel some of the "truth, freedom, and care" attitudes even when human development resources are abundant. Judging by their fixed assets and annual consumption, the USA government may be the wealthiest secular institution in the world, and the Roman Catholic Church may be the wealthiest religious institution. Both exhibit the triple patriarchal addiction to wealth accumulation, absolute international power, and the esteem of the world [09], [10]. Both have been associated with corruption at the highest levels, with nefarious social consequences: if the big fish gives a bad example, why should the small fish give good example?



The following list of selected references does not provide a comprehensive bibliography. Care has been taken to include references that reflect opposite viewpoints in some controversial issues. Some references are supplemented by relevant quotations as well as brief comments relevant to solidarity, sustainability, patriarchy, and gender equity issues.

[01] Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Feminine Consciousness, Oxfor University Press, 1987, 344 pages. See also, by the same author, The Creation of Patriarchy, Oxfor University Press, 1994, 416 pages. For a recent synthesis, see Religion and the Creation of a Feminine Consciousness, Gerda Lerner, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, October 2005.

[02] Leonard Sax, Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences, Doubleday, 2005, page 237.

[03] These diagrams originated with Jay W. Forrester at MIT in the late 1950s, in conjunction with the development of Industrial Dynamics, subsequently generalized to System Dynamics. They were intended to support system analysis pursuant to more formal modeling diagrams (sometimes called "Forrester diagrams") amenable to translation into computer simulation models. The CLD gradually has become the main tool for this kind of analysis, as it is often sufficient to isolate root causes and identify how the feedback loop geometry (including information flows) should be changed to improve system behavior. The basic reference is Industrial Dynamics, Jay W. Forrester, MIT Press, 1961. See also Intellectual Roots and Philosophy of System Dynamics, Willard R. Fey, Ecocosm Dynamics, Ltd., Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), UNESCO, 2001. The most comprehensive gateway to online resources is G. Ossimitz: System Dynamics/Systems Thinking Mega Link List.

[04] Jeremiah 18: 1-4. "Here is another message to Jeremiah from the Lord: Go down to the shop where clay pots and jars are made and I will talk to you there. I did as he told me, and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar that he was forming didn't turn out as he wished, so he kneaded it into a lump and started again."

[05] The following statements reflect the increasing consensus of both scholars and practitioners, including the United Nations:

"Study after study has shown that there is no effective development strategy in which women do not play a central role. When women are fully involved, the benefits can be seen immediately: families are healthier and better fed; their income, savings and reinvestment go up. And what is true of families is also true of communities and, in the long run, of whole countries." Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General, 8 March 2003.

"Without progress towards gender equality and the empowerement of women, none of the MDGs will be achieved." Gender Equality & the MDGs, GENDERNET, OECD, 2006.

"Research from around the world has shown that gender inequality tends to slow economic growth and make the rise from poverty more difficult. The reasons for this link are not hard to understand. Half of the world’s population is female, hence, the extent to which women and girls benefit from development policies and programs has a major impact on countries’ overall development success. Research also shows that women and girls tend to work harder than men, are more likely to invest their earnings in their children, are major producers as well as consumers, and shoulder critical, life-sustaining responsibilities without which men and boys could not survive much less enjoy high levels of productivity. Women’s empowerment is particularly important for determining a country’s demographic trends—trends that in turn affect its economic success and environmental sustainability." Gender and Development, World Bank Website, 2006.

[06] Many excellent references can be recommended in support of this point. The following list is not intended to be comprehensive:

[06.01] The Republic, Plato, 427-347 BCE.
[06.02] Lehrbuch Der Nationalokonomie/Teaching Guide to Economics, Heinrich Pesch, 5 volumes published between 1905 and 1926 in German. First economist to propose the concept of "solidarist economics." English edition, Mellen, 2003.
[06.03] Modern Man in Search of a Soul, Carl G. Jung, Harvest, 1933, 244 pages.
[06.04] Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1962, 304 pages.
[06.05] The Divine Milieu: An Essay on the Interior Life, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, , Harper and Row, New York, 1968, 112 pages.
[06.06] Things Hidden since the Foundation of the World, Rene Girard, Grasset & Fasquelle, 1978, 469 pages.
[06.07] The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture, Fritjof Capra, Bantam, 1982, 464 pages.
[06.08] Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale, Maria Mies, Zed Books, 1986, 251 pages.
[06.09] The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future, Diane Eisler, Harper, 1987, 271 pages.
[06.10] Inquiry and Change: The Troubled Attempt to Understand and Shape, Charles E. Lindblom, Yale, 1990, 314 pages.
[06.11] Encyclical Letter Centesimus Annus, Pope John Paul II, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1991.
[06.12] Gossips, Gorgons, and Crones: The Fates of the Earth, Jane Caputi, Bear & Company, 1993, 369 pages.
[06.13] The End of Patriarchy and the Dawning of a Tri-une Society, Claudio Naranjo, Amber Lotus, 1994, 153 pages.
[06.14] Heart of Flesh: A Feminist Spirituality for Women and Men, Joan D. Chttister, Eerdmans, 1998, 187 pages.
[06.15] The Need for Economic Personalism, Gregory M. A. Gronbacher, Journal of Markets & Morality, Volume 1, Number 1, March 1998.
[06.16] Philosophy and Social Hope, Richard Porty, Penguin, 1999, 288 pages.
[06.17] Earth Dance: Living Systems in Evolution, Elisabet Sahtouris, iUniversity, 2000, 404 pages.
[06.18] The Elephant and the Flea: Reflections of a Reluctant Capitalist, Charles Handy, Harvard, 2001, 233 pages.
[06.19] Human Ecology: Basic Concepts for Sustainable Development, Gerald G. Marten, Erathscan, 2001, 238 pages.
[06.20] The Power of Partnership, Diane Eisler, New World, 2002, 279 pages.
[06.21] The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental ForceJeffrey M. Schwartz and Sharon Begley, Regan Books, 2003, 420 pages.
[06.22] Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, Judith L. Hand, Questpath, 2003, 187 pages (free e-book download).
[06.23] Like Grains of Wheat: A Spirituality of Solidarity, Margaret Swedish and Marie Dennis, Orbis, 2004, 213 pages.
[06.24] The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz, HarperCollins, 2005, 265 pages.
[06.25] A Future Without War, Judith L. Hand, Questpath, 2005.
[06.26] The Church of the GDP, Robert J. Samuelson, Washington Post, 12 January 2006, page A21.

[07] In/Through the Bodies of Women: Rethinking Gender in African Politics, Amina MIRE, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto, Polis Website, 2001.

"The Central argument of this paper is that the history of African social and political thought has been a male centred project discursively and symbolically mediated through bodies of women. As a result, in the history of African social and political thought, the female body, and female sexuality in particular, provided a symbolic space through which asymmetry power relations between African men has been discursively articulated, secured and contested."

[08] South African Anglican in bid to shift focus from sex issues to poverty, Ecumenical News International (ENI), 2 February 2006.

"South African Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane has announced an initiative to re-focus the mission of the worldwide Anglican Communion towards ending poverty and addressing the effects of climate change, rather than on issues around sexuality that are forcing divisions in the grouping. Ndungane, the archbishop of Cape Town, has been appointed by the Anglican Communion to co-ordinate its efforts on issues of debt, trade, HIV/AIDS and poverty." Apparently, the good archbishop cannot understand that poverty, and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, cannot be mitigated unless gender inequity is mitigated first.

[09] Rich Nations More Negative About Global Institutions, Jim Lobe, IPS, 24 January 2006.

"Citizens of the world's wealthiest countries are more negative about global institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and transnational corporations than their counterparts in the world's poorer regions, according to a new poll of 32 nations released Tuesday by the BBC World Service."

[10] Progressive Catholics and the White Smoke, Patrick Mulvaney, The Nation, 18 April 2005.

"With the death of Pope John Paul II, the Roman Catholic Church -- the largest and wealthiest religious institution in the world -- stands at a critical crossroads. In a conclave beginning on April 18, its College of Cardinals will elect a new pope, an individual who could reshape the Church for generations to come. So as crowds gather outside the Vatican in the wait for white smoke, progressive Catholics in the United States are clinging to the hope that the new pontificate will bring with it an era of positive social change." Wishful thinking. The Roman Catholic Church is patriarchal to the core, and the ecclesiastical apparatus is willing to invent new and "infallible" doctrines to preserve the hegemony of the patriarchs. Such new doctrines are based on a fundamentalist (literalist, and therefore invalid) reading of certain texts of the Bible. Similar literalist interpretations were used to justify the crusades, the burning of heretics, and the harassment of Galileo, Darwin, and others. Now the same trick is being used to perpetuate a gigantic religious patriarchy that excludes women from any role of religious authority. This, even though the ordination of celibate women to the priesthoof would end the "sacramental starvation" of millions of Roman Catholics.

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The following are links to previous issues of the newsletter:

V1 N1 May 2005: Cross-Gender Solidarity
V1 N2 June 2005: The Phallocentric Syndrome
V1 N3 July 2005: From Patriarchy to Solidarity
V1 N4 August 2005: Synthesis of Patriarchy and Solidarity
V1 N5 September 2005: From Solidarity to Sustainability
V1 N6 October 2005: Dimensions of Sustainability
V1 N7 November 2005: Analysis and Synthesis of Objective Evidence
V1 N8 December 2005: Solidarity, Subsidiarity, and Sustainability
V2 N1 January 2006: Synthesis of Solidarity and Sustainability

From Patriarchy
to Solidarity,
Sustainability, and

The Triple Addiction

Addiction to
Wealth Accumulation

Source: Workers World

Addiction to
Absolute Power

Source: Workers World

Addiction to
Worldly Honors

Constantine the Great
Source: Wikipedia


Nadia Swerdlow, Assistant Dean of Instruction, Truman College, Chicago, wrote to inform that Carol Welch, U.S. Coordinator for the UN Millennium Campaign, will be the keynote speaker at the conference on Women’s Issues and Globalization, to be held at Truman 17 February 2006. Response: Truman College is to be congratulated for this initiative. Many academic institutions are still very patriarchal and absorbed by the "publish or perish" syndrome. It is good to hear from educators who are really focused on educating young people to be of service to society.

Rev. Alisa Battaglia, owner of the Ecology of the Spirit: Integrating Humanity with Soul website, wrote to express her support and suggest the possibility of collaboration. Response: A link to the Ecology of the Spirit has beed added below under "Human Development." Hope you can reciprocate. Given the failure of organized religion to meet the spiritual needs of so many people, some alternatives are needed. God can reach humanity in many different ways. May God bless your efforts. Let us pray for each other. Some collaboration may be possible, let us both give it some thought.

V. Torrijos, Professor of Political Science at the University of Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia, wrote about the possibility of including Spanish content in the newsletter. Response: It is an interesting possibility. The material would have to be translated to English, since most subscribers cannot read Spanish. Do you have some relevant article that could be translated? Perhaps we can eventually have a Spanish version of the newsletter.


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State of the World 2006: China and India Hold World in Balance, Worldwatch Institute, January 2006. From the Foreword: "The western model of growth that India and China wish to emulate is intrinsically toxic. It uses huge resources—energy and materials—and generates enormous waste. The industrialized world has mitigated the adverse impacts of wealth generation by investing huge amounts of money. But... it remains many steps behind the problems it creates. India and China have no choice but to reinvent the development trajectory." Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, India.

World Social Forum 2006. The 2006 edition of the World Social Forum will be polycentric: it will be held in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the cities of Bamako, Mali (January 19-23); Caracas, Venezuela (January 24-29); and Karachi, Pakistan (March 2006). Recommended: That another world is possible, Antonio Martins, WSF Brazil, and Never give up on that other world, Ignacio Ramonet, Le Monde Diplomatique, January 2006. The World Social Forum is an anti-globalization alternative to the pro-globalization World Economic Forum that meets January of each year in Davos, Switzerland.

World Economic Forum 2006. The 2006 annual meeting was held at Davos, January 25-29. Recommended: Global Competitiveness Report 2005-2006 and the Interactive Map of the Worldwide Growth Competitiveness Index (GCI). Make sure you click on "GCI Score and Rank" to see the GCI ranking of 117 countries. Consider the ranking of countries from top to bottom and, as you go down the list, think about the degree of secular and religious gender equity prevalent in those countries. Can you discern any correlation?


CALL FOR PAPERS: A conference on Global Built Environment: Towards an Integrated Approach for Sustainability is to be held 11-12 September 2006, Preston, UK. Please submit abstracts by 15 February 2006 to Professor Monjur Mourshed, Senior Lecturer, Built Environment, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, United Kingdom.

CALL FOR PAPERS: Women and Ordination in the Christian Churches. Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society, University of Manchester, UK, 12-14 July 2006. Please submit a short outline of your proposed paper (max. 200 words) by 10 March 2006 to Dr. Ian Jones. For more information, visit the conference website.

CALL FOR PAPERS: The 14th international conference of the Society of Human Ecology (SHE) will take place 18-21 October 2006 at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine. SHE welcomes proposals for sessions, multi-session symposia, as well as individual papers. Contact the Conference Committee, SHE XIV.

GLOBAL DIALOGUE 2006: Begins January 1st, 2006, on the Internet, and ends August 31st. You can participate in one of the discussion roundtables, or you can organize your own discussion roundtable. For more information, see Discussion Roundtables on the Internet.

United Nations MDGs

Millennium Development Goals

The UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the following:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

2. Achieve universal primary education

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

4. Reduce child mortality

5. Improve maternal health

6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability

8. Develop a global partnership for development

Interested in more information and data? Click the map below:


Gender Balance in Religion

Women in Roles of Religious Authority

Most Rev. Patricia Davies
Presiding Bishop (2005-present),
Old Catholic Church of Canada

Gender Balance in Society

Women in Roles of Secular Authority

Golda Meier
Prime Minister of Israel,

"Men have always been afraid that women could get along without them."

Margaret Mead, 1901 - 1978


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Copyright © 2006 by Luis T. Gutierrez


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