Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC, January 2020

Chunakara noted that, around the world, we now see greater participation of women in all walks of life. “The crisis situation that has paralysed the world during the past one year has underscored both the exemplary role and contributions of women in serving humanity in every context.”

Women leaders and women’s organisations have proved that they are skilful and knowledgeable and can contribute efficiently in COVID-19 responses and recovery efforts, Chunakara continued.

“Today, their contributions and leadership are more accepted and recognised than ever before,” he said. “However, women continue to remain underrepresented in leadership positions in almost all sectors, including churches and faith-based organisations.”

The leadership of women should be recognised as “transformational” given its role in developing and inspiring change for the good of all, Chunakara said. “Qualities of empathy, authentic communication, and teamwork, coupled with resilience, respect, and enthusiasm are the hallmarks of the leadership of women,” he said. “Such leadership promotes cooperation and collaboration rather than command and control, benefitting not a select few but society as a whole.”

In the quest for ensuring gender equality, representation is critical, the statement continues.

“The leadership of women in all situations today is urgent and necessary; no significant or meaningful progress can be made if women who constitute more than half the population of the world are not wholly engaged in change processes, especially in decision-making,” Chunakara said. “It is only through the equal and immediate participation of women that we can all benefit from the experience and insights of all of humanity.”

The experiences in many contexts in today’s world prove that the leadership of women is critical for building inclusive and robust societies in order to effectively address common challenges, such as the current global COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“In many countries, women have led the way with rapid and successful responses to flatten the curve,” he said. “However, the unique challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic now need renewed leadership, partnerships, and mobilisation, with women placed at the centre of the recovery efforts.”

Christian Conference of Asia