"Fourth Wave" Feminism Incorporates Tides of Spiritual Peace Activism

August 2, 2006

Source: Feminist.com


Feminist.com reported, "On September 11, 2001, California psychotherapist Kathlyn Schaaf was overwhelmed by a powerful thought. Watching the violent images on television, she suddenly felt the time had come to 'gather the women.' She wasn’t alone. Schaaf and 11 others who shared her response soon created Gather the Women, a Web site and communications hub that 5000 women have used to chronicle their local events in support of world peace. As women assembled near the pyramids in Egypt and held potluck dinners in Alaska, staged candlelight vigils and other rituals in countries around the world, it confirmed Schaaf’s gut instinct that an untapped reserve of energy 'lays like oil beneath the common ground the women share.' Since then, the group has organized a series of congresses to connect women’s groups. Their work is one example of a new kind feminism, slowly growing for a decade and now bursting out everywhere. At its heart lies a new kind of political activism that’s guided and sustained by spirituality. Some are calling it the long-awaited 'Fourth Wave' of feminism—a fusion of spirituality and social justice reminiscent of the American civil rights movement and Ghandi’s call for nonviolent change. This phenomenon is most visible in the popular conferences organized by women spiritual and religious leaders. Just as important are those meeting privately to meditate and pray, to study the world, and to support each other in social action. These gatherings share a commitment to a universal spirituality that affirms women’s bonds across ethnic and religious boundaries. They’re also exploring a new feminine paradigm of power that’s based on tolerance, mutuality, and reverence for nature that have long been identified with women—values they now see as crucial to curing the global pathologies of poverty and war."