Today is the International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day is a worldwide event that celebrates women’s achievements from the political to the social while calling for gender equality. The original aim is to achieve full gender equality for women around the world; this has still not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.
The original aim was to achieve full gender equality for women in the world has still not been realized. A gender pay gap persists across the globe and women are still not present in equal numbers in business or politics.
A time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. International Women’s Day (IWD), an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women because visibility and awareness help drive positive change for women and also to declare bold actions to help progress the gender agenda because the purposeful action can accelerate gender parity across the world.
The theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is “Be Bold for Change” encouraging people to step up and take groundbreaking action to help drive gender equality. It’s an active message that is likely to resonate with the millions of women, girls and men in opposition to divisive politics.
Bold actions include creating safe spaces and empowering those who come to these safe spaces to share their pain and their hopeful visions. It means stepping up and stepping out of comfort zones to accompany others in their quest, to protect those still in vulnerable unequal relationships in society, in work, in the community, in church or in the home. Figures show that globally, women’s education, health and violence towards women is still worse than that of men.
His Grace Archbishop Winston Halapua in his opening remarks to Church leaders of the Diocese of Polynesia workshop this morning stressed the drive for gender equality and acknowledging a time of action for change. The Zero Tolerance policy adopted by the Anglican Churches in Aotearoa and Polynesia is a bold statement as a church and the way forward for equality.
In December last year according to Secretary for Communication for the Methodist Church in Fiji, Rev James Baghwan stated that the leaders of the largest Christian communities in Fiji spoke with one voice to say that gender-based violence was “a sin”. The Fiji Council of Churches has already established a working group to address violence against women – both personal and structural, which has already begun to look at how churches can collaborate and share resources towards a focused campaign within the Christian community to reduce violence and increase equity for women. Attitudes need to change and we must be bold enough to change and challenge attitudes that dehumanize women in society, church and family.
From the Institute for Mission and Research, we wish you all a Happy International Woman’s Day.
By Rev. Raki Tigarea – Project Officer Peace Building