Envisage a world where women and men, boys and girls are valued equally; where all experience being gendered as gift rather than danger, a source of life and hope rather than disadvantage, oppression or fear. This was the starting point of a March workshop held in London, UK, which saw the launch of an international faith movement for gender justice.
Representatives from the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Alliance joined 45 participants from 15 other Churches, Christian networks and mission and development agencies to look at the theological imperative for gender justice and to begin working towards a shared vision, commitment and action plan for moving forward together.
“The workshop was a constructive reminder that we will travel further in our efforts for gender justice if we travel together”, said the Revd Terrie Robinson, Director for Women in Church and Society at the Anglican Communion Office. “Women and men have become trapped in distorted mythologies around power which erode the status and agency of women, deny men and women the benefits of just gender relations, and get in the way of development, health and well-being.
Read the communiqué about the work here.
What actions can be taken to strengthen faith actors ability to work on gender justice?
The Workshop identified common actions, including a commitment to working collectively, towards:
- Building a more comprehensive evidence-base for the contribution that faith leaders, faith institutions and faith-based NGOs can make towards gender justice
- Establishing safe spaces for senior faith leaders to discuss, understand and commit to take leadership action on gender justice at every level from the household to global
- Establishing and supporting safe spaces for faith leaders and people of faith already championing gender justice to discuss relevant issues and provide them with a platform to share their views
- Building greater awareness amongst people of faith, faith leaders and faith-based organisations of the moral and theological imperative for gender justice and supporting them to demand this of themselves, their partners, communities and leaders
- Producing and sharing existing materials, and disseminating faith-based tools, methods and theological materials for use by faith leaders and faith-based organisations to address gender justice issues
- Mapping of existing faith actors and enlisting new ones to work more collaboratively towards common gender justice goals.
- Support for the creation of national, regional and global structures for a more coordinated and collaborative movement of faith-based gender justice actors to take more affirmative and common action towards achieving gender justice policy and programmatic outcomes
- Pooling existing resources and collectively seeking new resources to implement these activities.
Image from South Africa gathering against gender violence.