There can be no business as usual

by The Rev. Anna George Traynham

This morning, UN Under-Secretary General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka addressed the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). One line has been ringing around the assembly halls since it left her lips: “There can be no business as usual.”

She was speaking in reference to the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015. “Excellencies,” she said in her striking South African accent, “the Agenda you adopted is bold, ambitious and transformational. Now we gather to seek implementation modalities that match this bold agenda, where there can be no business as usual.

The down-to-earth phrase stood out in her elegantly crafted speech, hitting the ears of the room with a thud. Her point was bold, concise, and clear: If we are going to end discrimination in any or all forms, we need more than advocacy and charity. We need transformation.

Around the world, women are raped, beaten, and murdered by intimate partners.

No more business as usual.

There are 4 UN member states with no women in Parliament, and there are 8 with no women in the cabinet.

No more business as usual.

Perpetrators of human trafficking roam free, while child victims are criminalized.

No more business as usual.

Girl children are sold as child brides.

No more business as usual.

The UN has been meeting about gender equality for 60 years.

No more business as usual.

We serve the God who spoke fire through the prophets. We follow the Christ who turned over tables. We are lead by the Spirit who breathes peace into chaos. Hear this good news of the gospel: There can be no business as usual.

Read Dr. Mlambo-Ngcuka’s full address.

About the Author: Rev. Anna George Traynham serves as Pastor in Residence at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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