LDS women promote maternal feminism at United Nations

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Eight LDS women, including three BYU students, spoke about the meaning of maternal feminism at the United Nations in New York City on Tuesday, March 14.

The eight speakers are youth ambassadors for Big Ocean Women, a Utah-based organization that provides a place for feminists “who prioritize faith, family and motherhood.” The speakers included: Hailey Bennett, Samantha Clinger, Taryn Royall, Hannah Butcher, Candace Brown, Breia Tullis, Madeleine Arnold and Marisa Hoover.

Together, they covered the eight tenets of the Blue Ocean Women’s organization.

Six of the Big Ocean Women young women ambassadors look down into the UN General Assembly room between sessions at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York. The young women spoke about how the LDS Young Women’s Values encourage feminism and women empowerment. (Jeannette Bennett)

BYU pre-communications sophomore Royall said it’s vital to value the role of fathers and build interdependent relationships with men.

“As a maternal feminist, I understand the importance of building relationships with men,” Royall said. “I understand how the role of a good father in our society is a huge asset and necessity to our future.”

Royall said women and men need to work together, quoting Big Ocean Women founder Carolina Allen.

“We don’t need to break down the patriarchy to empower women,” Royall said. “We just need to elevate the matriarchy.”

BYU freshman Arnold said the organization’s fourth tenet, “We seek after knowledge and wisdom,” encourages young women to focus on making education a priority.

“If you educate a man, you educate an individual; but if you educate a woman, you educate a nation,” Arnold said, quoting an African proverb.

Freshman Hoover said feminism also encompasses women who are pro-life.

“I have been told that if you care about women and you care about women’s rights, then you must be pro-choice,” Hoover said. “Every child, every person is unique and worthy of respect, and we must protect this truth by advocating for life.”

The live stream video of Big Ocean Women’s participation at the United Nations is available on the group’s Facebook page.