Side by Side Advocacy Briefing

Side by Side Advocacy Briefing: The Role of Faith Leaders in Achieving Gender Justice

 

Authors:

Solène Brabant, Regional GBV Advocacy Officer, Norwegian Church Aid

Jenny Brown, Church Advocacy Advisor, Christian Aid and Side by Side Advocacy Chair

This short paper is produced by Side by Side, a global movement of faith leaders and communities, faith-based organisations and individuals of faith, who are committed to removing barriers to gender justice. It is offered as a contribution to the emerging conversation about the distinctive role of faith representatives in advocating for gender justice. It sets out the context and the challenges to be addressed, and then shows with examples how faith leaders have been, and can be, part of the solution rather than part of the problem. It concludes with recommendations to faith leaders, governments and inter-governmental organisations.

Eighty-four per cent of the world’s population self-identify as members of a faith group.[1] Faith leaders play a key role in shaping people’s values, norms of acceptable behaviour, life roles and understanding of what constitutes ‘a good life’. For people of faith, this faith identity is core to the development of many of the laws, policies, programmes and relationships which shape and govern the societies in which we all live.

The potentially transformational role of faith leaders and people of faith in tackling root causes of gender inequality and speaking out against gender injustice, raising the issue as a political as well as moral concern, is often not fully appreciated. While we must acknowledge at the outset that faith leaders can be part of the problem of gender injustice, they can be and are increasingly part of the solution, as this paper explains.

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