Loretto Feminist Network: Standing Strong With Women
The Loretto Feminist Network, known as LFN for short, was established in 1982 to raise awareness of the issues facing women in the world, in the United States and in the church. For the past 30 years and counting, LFN has stood with women, marginalized by long-held discriminatory policies and practices in the United States and around the world, through support, advocacy and education.
Much has improved for women in the United States, though progress has been slower in developing countries. Still, many women are now in positions to create innovative responses to many of the injustices ingrained in the systems of which we are a part.
In the past two years, LFN’s work, in particular, has involved continuing to respond to issues having an impact on women in today’s society, supporting the work of other groups with a similar mission and working within the Loretto Mission Team.
For example, LFN continues to promote CEDAW (the Convention to End Discrimination Against Women), primarily in Kansas City, Mo., where Loretto Co-member Alice Kitchen is part of the local group that is working to get the city on board with the actions steps of CEDAW, most of which relate to equality in wage structures.
Our group also continues to follow actions required to work toward ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). The Loretto Community has a long history of supporting the Equal Rights Amendment to be included in the U.S. Constitution. The ERA was passed in 1972 and sent to the states for ratification. Maureen Fiedler SL founded Catholics for ERA in 1982 and was one of eight women who fasted in Springfield, Ill., for ERA ratification. On Jan. 27, 2020, the ERA reached the required goal of approval by 38 states when the Virginia legislature passed ERA ratification bills.
The fight continues to get the ERA in the U.S. Constitution. Among its supportive efforts, the Loretto Feminist Network endorses the work of the ERA Coalition, an organization founded in 2014 to bring organized action in support of the effort to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The LFN has signed several petitions that have come from the ERA Coalition, and individual Loretto members also have signed requested petitions. Most recently, LFN joined with more than 50 other advocates for women’s equality to sign an amicus brief filed by the ERA Coalition in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The amicus brief was in support of the lawsuit filed by the Attorneys General of the last three states to ratify the ERA. The Attorneys General are asking the court to force the National Archivist to publish the ERA to the Constitution, making it our nation’s 28th Amendment.
In this work and all its efforts, LFN embraces the idea of intersectionality, the interconnected nature of identities and the “overlapping or intersecting identities and related systems of oppression, domination or discrimination.” The Loretto Feminist Network supports the understanding that the issues that women face are often magnified by race, ethnic identities, access to education, class, capitalism, physical and mental health, violence, war … the list goes on.
The Loretto Feminist Network is a voluntary association of feminists in the larger Loretto Community. We are committed to act for the empowerment of women and all people. We agree to work toward transforming institutional, personal and structural relationships based on domination and subordination, both within the Loretto Community and beyond it.
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