Justice for women
"There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28 NRSV).
God created both men and women in God’s own image (Gen. 1:26-31), yet with the fall comes a brokenness that positions men in dominion over their wives. (Gen. 3:16). However, Jesus teaches against this order of patriarchy in his teaching about equitable treatment of wives' divorce (Mark 10:2-12). He also praises Mary for coming to listen to him, instead of fulfilling her expected domestic role (Luke 10:38-42). Paul follows Jesus’ example and calls all people to be one in Christ (Gal. 3:28).
“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." (Genesis 1:27 NRSV)
- 1977 Statement, Equality for Women in the Church of the Brethren (PDF)
- 1970 Resolution on Equality for Women
According to some estimates, women account for 70% of the world’s poor because of gaps in wages, education, and discrimination according to UNIFEM. In many countries, women are impoverished because they are denied the right of equality. Women work as primary caregivers and producers of food, yet are denied the rights to property ownership. They are prevented from owning or inheriting land. Lack of property combined with little or no education means women must depend on men to support them financially.
In the U.S. about half the people in poverty are women and a majority of these women are single without children according to the Center for American Progress. Women slide into poverty during young adulthood and again after retirement. They are paid less for their work, and women usually work in professions that earn less overall such as teaching, nursing, cleaning, and waitressing. Pregnancy and child bearing are also important factors, along with the fact that women are much more likely to provide unpaid caregiving than men. In addition, women are more likely to experience job loss and poverty because of domestic abuse and violence.
“Supporting women is a high-yield investment, resulting in stronger economies, more vibrant civil societies, healthier communities, and greater peace and stability.”
– Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, March 8, 2009
As we look to the developing world, providing aid to women is a critical asset to helping communities rise out of poverty. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), 64% of illiterate people worldwide are women. In addition, the majority of children not currently in school are girls.
Equality between men and women can allow women to fully participate in society and become an active part of growing struggling economies. Women with access to education can participate in business. Women with access to land and jobs can raise household incomes and in turn possess more control over household decisions. Often times this leads to healthier children with more prospects and a reduction of poverty for future generations.
The oppression of women worldwide is vast and takes many forms. Abuses against women are physical, sexual, psychological, and economic. Abuse cuts through all boundaries of geography, age, race, culture, and wealth. It happens in the home, in school, at work, in farm fields, refugee camps, and during national conflict. According to UNFEM, 60% of women will experience physical or sexual violence during their lifetime. In a World Bank study of women ages 16-44, rape and domestic violence is more dangerous than car accidents and cancer. In the U.S. domestic violence costs $5.8 billion annually according to the CDC.
According to a 2006 UN report, some progress has been made in protecting women from violence. There were 89 countries with laws about domestic violence, 90 with laws against sexual harassment, and 104 countries with laws against marital rape. However, in 102 countries there were no laws protecting victims of domestic violence.
In the face of wide-spread violence against women, the Church of the Brethren works to empower women to freedom, self-determination, and leadership in societies world-wide.
- Promote women’s and girls’ economic rights and opportunities;
- Support the Global Women’s Project, an initiative of the Church of the Brethren to educate Brethren and others about global poverty, oppression and injustice
- Advocate for justice for women
- Encourage women to run for leadership positions within all areas of community: church, local, state, and national politics
- Support higher wages for women
- Encourage young women to pursue education as a means to escape poverty and live up to their full potential
- Support programs that train young women to be leaders in school and their communities
- National Council of Churches Justice for Women Working Group
- United Nations Development Fund for Women
- ELCA Women: Advocacy
Related organizationsDepartment of Homeland Security(domestic disaster response, immigration, human trafficking)
Church of the Brethren Peace Witness Ministries "seeks to live the peace of Jesus publicly." One way we do this is through cooperation with government and non-governmental agencies whenever it is in accord with our denominational values.
The 1967 Annual Conference Statement, The Church, the State and Christian Citizenship states, "Christians should appreciate and support the worthy functions which government performs. They should willingly obey the state in matters on which they have no contrary moral conviction."
Being followers of Christ, we are likewise called to serve our communities out of God’s love. Our office believes we can be a witness to Christ as American citizens by partnering with government agencies on how to best address our community’s needs while also upholding separation of church and state.
The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships was formerly known as the "Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives," established by President George W. Bush through an executive order in January 2001 until it was reorganized under the Obama Administration in February 2009. The purpose of the office is to form voluntary partnerships with non-profit organizations, both faith-based and secular, which help coordinate government agencies to address community needs around the United States.
Click here for more information about the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships