News Story

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women throughout the world. Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints celebrate their history and rejoice in their present. United by basic values of love and kindness, Mormon women are a strong voice that works to create sacred spaces where all are welcome.

The theme for this year’s International Women's Day is “Be Bold for Change.” Being bold for change means that each voice can lead the way to a better future of diversity, inclusion and love. Effective, positive change requires a strong vision and leaders to forge the way. Mormon women are encouraged to have that vision and be those leaders. They know they are daughters of a loving God and celebrate their innate divinity and rejoice in their God-given talents and gifts. They endeavour to speak truth and practice kindness. Their motto is “Charity Never Faileth.” They are bold for change.

Because hate is increasingly seen and heard, there must be opposing voices of inclusion. Diversity brings strength and differences teach wisdom. The world needs a voice for the unheard and unnoticed. The world needs understanding and hope.

Sister Neill F. Marriott, a leader in the Church’s organization for young women, said, “Love is making space in your life for someone else” (“What Shall We Do?” April 2016 general conference). Jesus taught us to love one another. His love is perfect, and His mandate is to share that love.

Women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints belong to the Relief Society, “one of the world’s oldest and largest female service organizations” (see The Relief Society has a strong tradition of women reaching out, helping others and enacting change.

Sheri Dew, CEO of Deseret Book Company, referenced this history in a March 1992 article: “At the first meeting of the Relief Society, President Emma Smith stated, with no small amount of vision: ‘We are going to do something extraordinary.’ What has transpired through the past 150 years has been nothing short of extraordinary. And women have responded magnificently to a multitude of pressing calls” (“Something Extraordinary,” Ensign).

The Relief Society, celebrating its 175th anniversary this month, has fought for suffrage, established hospitals, stored wheat to feed the hungry and extended welcoming arms to refugees.

With privilege comes responsibility. Eliza R. Snow, the second general president of the Relief Society, said, “We know the Lord has laid high responsibilities upon us” (see Daughters in My Kingdom: The History and Work of Relief Society, 42). But with responsibility comes reward.

Joseph Smith, the first prophet of the Church, said, “It is natural for females to have feelings of charity and benevolence. … If you live up to these principles, how great and glorious will be your reward! If you live up to your privileges, the angels cannot be restrained from being your associates” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 2011).

Today is a day to celebrate the uniqueness that comes from being women. It is a day to take those qualities of being daughters of God and to share them with the world. It is a day to celebrate each other, a day to be bold and a day for change.

#BeBoldforChange. Meet new people, learn their language, understand their culture.

#BeBoldforChange. Love others, accept their differences, appreciate their choices.

#BeBoldforChange. Reach out to the stranger, find the common humanity.

#BeBoldforChange. Erase the fear, learn empathy, investigate motives.

#BeBoldforChange. Drop prejudice, question biases, stop judgment.

#BeBoldforChange. See other paths, investigate new choices, support each other.

#BeBoldforChange. Stand up for truth. Stand up for love. Stand up for kindness.

Contributed by Janine Thompson of Calgary

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