Faith actors vow to end GBV, promote women's rights
What you need to know:
- They converged to deliberate on ways of advancing women's rights in faith communities.
- Churches owned their failure to 'decisively' advocate gender equality and elimination of gender-based violence.
- They reckoned that liberation of women is the first step to transforming the world, thus declaring to push for the advancement of their rights.
Faith organisations in Africa have committed to mainstreaming gender equality within Christian communities and institutions.
During a media briefing on Wednesday, they owned their failure to “decisively” advocate gender equality and elimination of gender-based violence (GBV).
“Our churches are not always the safe spaces God has called us to be,” said Rev Dr Uzoaku Williams, assistant general secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria.
She read a statement representing a unanimous view of the 70 faith actors gathered in Nairobi for a four-day conference. The members were brought together by Faith to Action Network, a global interfaith network with members from Baha’i, Buddhist, Confucian, Hindu, Christian, African Traditional, and Muslim.
They converged to deliberate on ways of advancing women's rights in faith communities. They were drawn from eastern and Horn of Africa, southern Africa, Anglophone western Africa, francophone western and Central Africa, Northern Africa and the Middle East regions.
“Our structures have often excluded women from key decision-making processes,” she said. “Our churches are not always the safe spaces God has called us to be.”
They reckoned that liberation of women is the first step to transforming the world, declaring to advance their rights.
In mainstreaming gender equality in their institutions, they will do away with interpretations likely to encourage GBV. “We will take concrete actions to make our places of worship and learning safe and inclusive spaces for all,” they stated.
They pledged to break their silence about traditional taboo subjects and support gender-responsive policies, recognising that their sacred texts are often misquoted and misused to entrench socio-cultural norms that promote gender inequality and undermine women’s dignity.
“Our theological institutions don’t easily include women and their curricula remain gender biased and fail to address core social ills such as gender inequality and GBV,” they noted.
In that regard, they vowed to work together in reviewing their formal and informal theological training to mainstream gender and GBV. “We will speak out against gender inequality and GBV from the pulpit and other public spaces.”