October 2016 WATERritual

Celebrating Women in Politics

By Diann L. Neu and Mallory Naake


Listen to audio here


Have a candle for each participant, matches, a pitcher of water, and a large bowl (like a well).

Welcome and Naming the Circle

Let us share our names and why we are at this ritual today.

Call to Gather

This is election season! As Chilean president Michelle Bachelet reminds us, “For me, a better democracy is a democracy where women not only have the right to vote and to elect but to be elected.” With an eye towards the U.S. Election Day, November 8, 2016, let us bless the women past, present and future who hold public office. They engage in public service for the good of the nation.

Song:“Guide My Feet” African American spiritual

Guide my feet while I run this race (3x)
For I don’t want to run this race in vain.
Hold my hand…   Stand by me…   

Raising up Women in Politics

(As you call out the name of each woman or group, pour water into a bowl.)

Michelle Obama, you passionately advocate for girls’ education, for healthy families, for respect for all women. You are a fearless and graceful model as the first African American First Partner of the United States.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

Eleanor Roosevelt, you were a pioneer who changed the role of the First Lady through your active participation in American politics. You were a diplomat, journalist, activist, and advocate for a wide range of human rights issues who later served as a United Nations spokesperson. Because of your leadership, more women were empowered to enter political life. Your time was then. (pour water)
          Response:  You made a difference.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, you transformed the role of First Lady to one of First Partner. You paved the way as the first female senator from New York, the third female Secretary of State, and now as the first major party nominee for President of the United States.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

Women in the Cabinet and key administrative positions — Loretta Lynch, Attorney General; Sally Jewell, Secretary of the Interior; Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce; Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Gina McCarthy, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Samantha Power, Ambassador to the United Nations; Maria Contreras-Sweet, Administrator of the Small Business Administration; Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, Justices of the Supreme Court — you provide a breath of fresh air combined with professional, activist, philosophical, and technical leadership skills.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.  

Women in the Senate — Lisa Murowski, Barbara Mikulski, Susan Collins, Mazie Hirono, Amy Klobuchar, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer, Debbie Stabenow, Claire McCaskill, Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, Kelly Ayotte, Jeanne Shaheen, Heidi Heitkamp, Elizabeth Warren, Kristen Gillibrand, Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray, Shelley Moore Capito, Tammy Baldwin — you bring women’s voices, experiences, and insights to structures of justice.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

The 84 Women in the House of Representatives — you represent the values, needs, and hopes of people in your districts.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

Women in State and Local Governments — (Name those from your area) — you attend to the needs and expectations of neighborhoods and communities at the grassroots.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

Women Firsts in Political Office in the Last 100+ Years Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President in 1872; Jeannette Rankin, the first woman elected to Congress in 1916; Hattie Caraway, the first woman to be elected to the Senate and serve a full term in 1932; Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress in 1968; Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman on a major party’s presidential ticket as Vice-Presidential nominee in 1984; Carol Moseley Braun, the first African American woman elected to the Senate in 1992; Condoleezza Rice, the first female African-American Secretary of State in 2005; Nancy Pelosi, the first female Speaker of the House in 2007 you paved the way for the Women in Politics for the next 100 years.  Your time was vital. (pour water)
          Response:  You made a difference.        

Women in Training for Future Political Office, you are hope for humankind.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

For the Woman who will one day be President of the United States, we await your leadership and pray that it will come in our lifetime.  Your time is now. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

Girls born today who will be Political Leaders tomorrow, to you is given the challenge of a world bursting with possibilities.  Remember the stories of your foremothers as you make your mark on the global community.  Your time is soon. (pour water)
          Response:  You make a difference.

Reflecting with the Circle of Political Women

We have lifted up pioneering women in politics and women who hold public office today. Like these women, we participate in politics by voting, campaigning, writing and calling our political leaders, attending public hearings, acting on our convictions, and running for public office ourselves.
          What other women in elected public office would you add?
          What are your reflections after hearing the names of these women?
          How do they make a difference?

We will have a short time of silence for reflection, then I will invite sharing. When you are ready, share your thoughts and feelings with the group. End your sharing by lighting a candle and saying:
          I am (name).  I am a political woman.  I make a difference.

Keep the Momentum Going

Take Action
. Vote! And vote for women who make a difference!
. Encourage girls and young women to develop their leadership skills.

Learn More
. Watch and read Michelle Obama’s powerful speech responding to Donald Trump’s treatment of women.
. Visit The Representation Project website to discover with Marian Wright Edelman’s words “You can’t be what you can’t see.”
. Watch the documentary “Miss Representation” (available on Netflix) to uncover the glaring realities we live with every day but fail to see.
. Visit the Day of the Girl – US page on Women’s Under-Representation in Politics for resources for girls and parents.

Closing Words

Let us raise our hands in solidarity, join them together, and close by proclaiming:
          We are political women.  Our time is now.  We make a difference.

Song: “Sister, Carry On” by Carolyn McDade, Sister, Carry On © 1992

Sister, carry on (2x)
It may be rocky and it may be rough
But sister carry on.

Sister, don’t lose the dream (2x)
Don’t sell out for no short time gain
Sister, don’t lose the dream.

Sister, don’t settle too soon (2x)
Til everybody’s got their rights
Sister, don’t settle too soon.

Sister, we share the way (2x)
Heart to heart and hand to hand
Sister, we share the way.

Stand in solidarity (2x)
Together bring a brand new day
Stand in solidarity.

Sister, carry on (2x)
May be rocky and it may be rough
But sister carry on.

© 2016 Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual (WATER). Planned by Diann L. Neu dneu@hers.com and Mallory Naake mallory@waterwomensalliance.org