Faith in Fighting Inequality

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At the start of the #FightInequality global week of action (18th – 25th January 2020), our international coordinator, Rachel Tavernor, reflects on the power of faith actors to tackle gender inequalities.

 

Around the world, global inequalities are undermining efforts to advance women’s rights, protect our environment, promote fair and dignified employment, tackle violence in all its forms and defend human rights. Gender equality is a fundamental human right, but we know from the statistics that this right has yet to be achieved. People continue to experience intersecting inequalities based on their gender, which restricts the potential of half the world’s population.

Eighty-four per cent of the world self-identify as members of a faith group. For many people, faith leaders shape their social norms and values, as well as influence government policies and practices. As a faith movement for gender justice, we are working to tackle gender inequalities in local, regional and global spaces. For example, in Uganda and Tanzania, the Side by Side movement has mobilised faith communities to tackle Gender Based Violence with street runs. Regionally, the movement in East Africa, has brought together faith actors to reflect on scripture, identify regional challenges and collectively strategize solutions. And internationally, a current focus for Side by Side is to support faith actors to effectively advocate for gender justice at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

We will not end gender inequality simply by changing laws, or reducing poverty, or improving education. While these are all important steps, we need to change social norms that devalue women. I have the privilege of working alongside people of faith who are dedicated to fighting inequality. For many, this is challenging work. It sometimes requires tackling gender injustice in our own faith communities, while also tackling global systems of inequality.

For many, fighting inequality is central to how we practice our faith. Inspired by a vision for righteous and joyful justice among humankind. A vision that is affirmed in scriptures that speak of love, dignity and equality for all. And calls upon us all to act. As Faustina shares:

 

‘If in my country we are free from gender inequalities but other countries are tied in these inequalities, we are not free at all. We have to make sure that all people, in this world, are free. I want to call my sisters and brothers from all over the world to stand together for gender justice’.

Faustina Nillan, Evangelical Lutheran Church
Side by Side Tanzania

 

Transformation can be radical and far reaching, and faith actors have an important role to play, to fight inequality at every level. This year, the stakes are high. The global community marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, and calls on UN Member States for the accelerated realisation of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, everywhere.

 

To find out more about the Fight Inequality global week of action visit their website. You can also contribute to their social media campaign by sharing a message or photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, and use the hashtag #FightInequality.

Posted by: Rachel Tavernor | Saturday, January 18th, 2020
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