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Vol. 4, No. 4, April 2008

Luis T. Gutierrez, Editor

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Editor's Note: The invited article this month is short in words, but includes a picture that is worth thousands of words. The editorial introduction will be brief, as the article is a perfect fit to this month's theme, Gender Dimension of Sustainable Development. A brief bio of the author, Sarah B. Strickland, is provided after the article.

In order to understand this article in a real world context, the reader may want to visit the MDG MONITOR web site for the latest data (1990-2006). The trends are shown by MDG and by location (global, countries). Specifically for MDG3 (Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women) tracking information, click HERE. Some progress has been made, but we have a long way to go if the 2015 targets are to be reached.

As of this writing, the "2015 countdown clock" shows 6 years, 308 days, 13 hours, 33 minutes, 15 seconds. There is no time to waste. It is imperative to achieve full gender equality worldwide, and sooner rather than later. Else, none of the other MDGs will be achieved. MDG3 is the key that opens the gateway to all the others.

Our Pathway to 2015

Sarah B. Strickland
Senior Strategy Consultant
Cincinnatus, Inc.

Reprinted with the kind permission of the author

United Nations 52nd Commission on the Status of Women
Our Pathway to 2015
Offered by Sarah B. Strickland

As a first-time delegate to the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) annual meetings, I can only describe my experience as “jumping into the deep-end of the pool.” I was blessed to be asked to be a delegate for the Women’s Intercultural Network by Jean Shinoda Bolen and Marilyn Fowler and I thank divine guidance for my leap of faith to say “yes!” My trade is strategic planning and co-creating “road-maps” that help people in organizations “see” where they want to go. I often find myself in a “midwife” role by helping bring an emerging idea or strategy into being. Recently, I have found myself drawing what I am seeing, hearing and understanding to be present about conversations I am in. The images flow through me and simply show up. It is my way of synthesizing and connecting many different elements into a picture-story. I was asked to share this with others. Please feel free to use it however you wish.

Our Pathway to 2015
offered by Sarah B. Strickland

Figure 1 - Painting of "Our Pathway to 2015" by Sarah B. Strickland
Source: Ecumenical Women at the United Nations, February 25 - March 7, 2008

This picture emerged in the chapel at the Church building after I attended two days of meetings. It seems to be my version of how I would describe what is necessary to move forward based on the wisdom, knowledge and experience of all the people who have been working far longer than me on achieving gender equality and the Millennium Development Goals. It is an expression of the elements, organizations and energies necessary to break through the constrictions always present from large enterprises like the international financial institutions, the United Nations, nations and local communities. The “source” to create and sustain the momentum to do this comes from the NGO’s and an important collection of principles and energies, like Political Will, Faith, Success Indicators and Infrastructure, that individuals, governments and institutions are creating to push through the barriers to progress. As these energies are created and gain momentum, they “push through” the old institutional barriers that foster poverty, violence and inequality which in-turn begin to erode and wash away.

As I was drawing this picture an interesting graphic change showed up that speaks metaphorically to me about how the Divine Feminine and the Divine Masculine are joining together to move us forward. The 2015 “gateway” that appears in the drawing is the threshold to the world we are all working to create. Originally this was the point of an arrow – a very masculine symbol! By adding four lines the arrow was transformed into a sacred symbol for the Feminine. It is quite clear to me that the MDG’s are an expression of the Divine Feminine fiercely showing up in our world to compel and oblige us to change. It is also clear to me that the momentum of the NGO’s is another expression of Her longing for this world. What this picture-story suggests to me is that the Divine Masculine cannot create change without moving through and becoming transformed by the Divine Feminine. And it is only through the Divine Feminine “receiving” the Divine Masculine in full partnership that transformation will occur. Peace and blessings to all in your courageous work.

Sarah B. Strickland
March 1, 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Sarah B. Strickland


Sarah B. Strickland, Senior Consultant at Cincinnatus, is an experienced leader with 25 years of organizational management and consulting experience in the health and social services sectors. Sarah provides strategic and business development consultation to a variety of non-profit organizations in significant leadership and strategy transitions. For example, she currently serves part-time as the interim Executive Director for the National Institute on Media and the Family and partners with the founding President to establish a successful, sustainable growth model for the non-profit. Clients also retain Sarah for specific board development, strategic planning, market and program assessment, and sensitive group facilitation projects.

Sarah is an advocate for women’s rights and her community involvement includes past and current board leadership and volunteer roles for St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, Planned Parenthood of Minnesota/South Dakota, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and Leadership Minneapolis. She received a B.A. degree in Organizational Psychology from Pitzer College, Claremont, California. Recent advanced training courses include the Advanced Art of Convening, Heartland Circle, Inc; and Graphic Facilitation Training, The Grove Consultants International.

Feedback is kindly requested: Sarah B. Strickland

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"Resistance to tyranny is obedience to God."

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)




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