The World Council of Churches (WCC) co-convened a workshop on 28 January to plan faith-based support for the 25-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action, a comprehensive international instrument for addressing the full range of issues faced by women globally.
Eighty-five leaders from faith-based organizations attended the workshop, and they noted that nearly everywhere in the world women face Inequalities, inequities, and greater vulnerability according to all of the indicators of poverty as compared to men. Women and girls are also the victims of gender-based violence.
The WCC co-sponsored the workshop with ACT Alliance, Lutheran World Federation, Anglican Communion, United Methodist Church, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, United Religions Initiative, UN Women, UN Inter-Agency Task Force for Religion and Development, Islamic Relief USA, Soka Gakkai International, Ecumenical Women, and Faith in Beijing+25 Coalition.
The full-day interactive workshop included brief panels with presentations from experts, an update on the Generation Equality Forum regional meetings to be held in Mexico and Paris, and Action Coalitions from UN Women followed by in-depth table discussions leading to plans for coordinated international advocacy by faith-based organizations.
Dr Abi Doukhan, professor of philosophy and Biblical scholar from Queen’s College said, “…many groups in the world have guiding principles from sacred scriptural traditions. These scriptures for generations were exclusively interpreted by men. A more full understanding of scripture can be discovered when we invite people from multiple backgrounds to interpret the texts, and that includes women. We need feminine interpretations of the texts in order to understand another side of God’s revealed word.”
A full report of the workshop will be available through the joint WCC-ACT Alliance Ecumenical United Nation’s Office.
Follow up meetings are planned, including a symposium on the Role of Religion in International Affairs focusing on faith implementation of Beijing+25 in January 2021. The symposium will be held at the UN in New York.