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It’s no secret women have had a rough year. From the revelations of the #MeToo movement in the U.S. to the kidnapping of girls in Nigeria, we are being subjected to a consistent message that our needs, or even our rights, aren’t of primary importance.

But at the Dominican Sisters of Hope, a community of 140 Catholic sisters where I work, one conviction prevails: Women worldwide hold the keys to our future. And we’re not alone in this belief: Next week, hundreds of women will gather from around the world to explore the challenges and opportunities for empowering women and achieving gender equality at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Joining the conversation are Catholic sisters who live among the disenfranchised globally and share the common goal of improving the lives of women and girls.

“I see an awakening,” Dominican Sister of Peace Judy Morris of Kentucky tells me. “I see women energized, confident, and wanting to make a change in attitudes toward women, from demonstrations to women running for office. Years of us being ignored or intimidated are beginning to fade.”

In recognition of International Women’s Day, I asked Sister Judy and other Dominican Sisters who attended last year’s meeting to discuss the work they have been doing to help women and girls in their home countries. Here’s what I learned.

Read More in YES! March 7, 2018

PHOTO: Margaret Hillary, OP, far right back row, black jacket, with Sisters from multiple congregations of vowed women religious attending the United Nations Conference on Women 2017.

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