Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 53

Posts Tagged ‘observed’

Gender stereotypes, for better and for worse

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 18 luglio 2009

“If we do not reform ourselves,” asked one participant in an open hearing on gender stereotypes in church and society, “what can we say to the world?” In illustrated presentations, small group conversations and sharing of personal stories, more than 50 delegates and visitors to the CEC assembly in Lyon recounted failures of European churches and societies to realize the goal of equality between men and women.  “I wonder how old I would have to be,” one ordained woman pondered aloud, “in order to be recognized as a full human being called to ministry in Christ?” She told of occasions when she was slighted and devalued by fellow Christians because she is a woman in what was traditionally seen as a male vocation. An ecumenical leader observed that church gatherings resound with honorific titles bestowed on men: “father”, “bishop”, “beatitude”, “excellency”, “holiness”. The sole term reserved for women is the humble “sister”. Another participant responded that “This is the tradition” is not an adequate justification for the treatment of women in church or society.  A young father told how he had been ridiculed by locals when he took the lead in providing childcare for his one-year-old son while his wife was attending a church conference, concluding that inequality inflicts a burden on men as well as women.  The hearing, held on Friday 17 July, was facilitated by Anthea Cox, Dorothy Knights and Elena Timofticiuc of the Ecumenical Forum of European Christian Women (EFECW). They reminded participants of a commitment in the Charta Oecumenica, an agreement adopted by CEC and the Roman Catholic bishops’ conference in Europe, vowing that churches will work together to strengthen the position and equal rights of women in all areas of life. Instruments of the ecumenical movement do not always embody this ideal. Elenea Timofticiuc reported that “serving on CEC’s gender advisory group has often brought much frustration” and that there are times in the course of assembly discussions when she would like to see the commitment from the Charta Oecumenica on overhead video screens as a reminder of Christians’ support of equality between men and women.

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