Ritual & the Empowerment of Women

in General News, RT&J

By Dr. Shokooh Miry, Sigma (U of California, Berkeley), Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee Chair

One of the most beautiful aspects of our shared Ritual is that it remains unchanged since our Founders created it as an experience of our shared values. A critical element of our Ritual is that it was designed to be approached by each sister as an individual. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to interpret our Ritual. It is a living, breathing collection of values that can and should be approached by each AOII sister with her individual culture, background, and belief systems intact. It is for this reason that I often refer to our Ritual as a set of core values, universal in nature and yet open to personal and individual interpretation by each sister.

As a member of the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee, I am often asked how Ritual is relevant in modern times. Given the rapid pace of change, and a world that looks much different than it did in the founding days of AOII, how is our Ritual relevant to the diverse and brilliant sisterhood of today? My own personal answer (recognizing that each of us will have our own, individual answer) is grounded in our Ritual as a force for the empowerment of women.

One of the most powerful Ritual memories for me is entering the room with my sisters as a New Member (candidate) for initiation and recognizing that AOII was offering me a community of intelligent leaders made up entirely of women. For me, AOII was the first leadership experience I had ever had with an organization of entirely female leaders. Social planning, financial management, membership education, recruitment, connection with campus leadership— every single facet of leadership by strong, intelligent, educated women.

So, how does our Ritual to help inspire the empowerment of women in the world? Our Ritual encourages us to:

• Seek out the opinion and ideas of other women.
• Prioritize the education and advancement of women in all fields.
• Approach the ideas and opinions of women with curiosity and openness.
• Work to raise the status of women through education and leadership.
• Offer women leadership training, skills, and opportunities.
• Exchange promises of friendship, acceptance, and loving support.
• Invite women to community, service, and leadership in the world.

Our Ritual is much more than just a meeting or proceeding. It provides our sisters and sisterhood with a collection of core values that include ensuring women play a vital, empowered role in the world. The next time you participate in Ritual, try and connect with the words and symbols by viewing them through the lens of women’s empowerment. You may be surprised by what calls to you.

You may contact the Rituals, Traditions, and Jewelry Committee (RT&J) about anything Ritual-related at RT&J@alphaomicronpi.org

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