Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

In a statement published 23 April, the group “Faith in Beijing,” a collective of religious actors and faith-based networks, called for the world to advocate governments and civil society for urgent COVID-19-related responses that protect women’s rights and achieve gender equality.

"A Joint Statement: Gender, Faith and COVID-19” depicts why the impacts of COVID-19 are being hardest felt by women and girls. The World Council of Churches (WCC) is among the signatory organizations on the message.

“As the pandemic unfolds, we have witnessed an increase in intimate partner violence and other forms of domestic violence,” reads the statement. “In some communities around the world, violence against women during the pandemic has been by the security agencies enforcing the lockdown, sometimes using undue force.”

As business as usual is paused, we have the opportunity to reflect upon the brokenness in our world and our economy system, the statement reflects. "In these spaces, we can begin to imagine a world rooted in equality and justice for all,” the text reads. "The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed how globally interconnected we are and how gender injustice reveals itself at an individual and a collective level.”

Religious institutions can play a vital role in distributing accurate public health information to their communities, noted Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary. “Faith leaders can and are playing a positive role in promoting messages of gender justice and challenging stigma,” said Phiri. “More than ever, we need to lead a response that is both focused and driven by the values of love, dignity and justice.”

Read the full statement

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Thursdays in Black Ambassadors: “We must enable and promote safe spaces for all” (WCC press release 23 April 2020)