Doesn’t the Bible call for gender justice? Paul is very clear when he says “For in Jesus Christ you are all children of God through faith. There is neither Jew nor Greek, male nor female, slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26–2). The reality looks different: Everywhere, we can see different forms of injustice. Yet, we know that the Bible calls for social action to overcome this injustice. We are enjoined to open our eyes, identify good from wrong, and seek redress. Rather than remaining passive and silent witnesses of injustice we are called to advocate for change. We read with amazement how Zelophehad’s daughters (Numbers 27:1-11) engaged in collective action that resulted in the rewriting of the law and a change of practice. We wondered: can we follow their path?
In this regard, over the past year, we conducted consultations with more than 100 Christian institutions from Africa and the Middle East. During 35 dialogues, participants discussed women’s rights from a religious and legal perspective and they shared experiences on how to increase personal and collective agency in their faith institutions. These consultations culminated in a four-day ecumenical conference, field trip and service in Nairobi. During the 16 Days of Activism, participants from over 30 African and Middle Eastern countries gathered to learn from different contexts and experiences, share advocacy strategies and celebrate their milestones in achieving women’s rights and gender justice in Christian communities.
The 4-day event included a common statement affirming our commitment for women’s rights and gender equality. This statement is currently being translated into French and Arabic. And all three language-versions will be released in January 2023. We thank New Independent Church of Africa for hosting us in Kasarani and celebrating an ecumenical service. We thank our steering group – Brot für die Welt, ACT Ubumbano, ACT Alliance, World Council of Churches – EHAIA, and of course we thank our vibrant facilitators and participants.
In addition, you can access videos of some of the conference’s presenters on our YouTube channel: