Today is Women’s World Day of Prayer and around the country today there will be special services to celebrate the role women pray in building Christ’s Kingdom and also to bring focus to a number of issues relating to the 2009 theme which is “In Christ there are many members yet one body”. This year the focus is generated by Papua New Guinea Council of Church – from a nation that is the second largest country in the South Pacific. Here 96% of the population is Christian and from PNG’s background of cultural diversity, all denominations have realised that there main priority is to work together to spread the love of God, influence society. there is a great deal to do with:
60% of women illiterate; gender violence and poverty; high rates of infant mortality and women dying in childbirth; high rates of TB malaria and pneumonia.
Sunday is International Women’s Day which is now an official holiday in China, Armenia, Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother’s Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.
With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so the tone and nature of IWD has, for the past few years, moved from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
But sometimes we still need reminders and on Saturday The Million Women Rise Coalition who are united by the ongoing violence enacted by men against women worldwide will be marching in London in a public demonstration to say no to vioence against women.
So whether you pray, celebrate or protest- remember the needs of women this weekend and stand with them in whatever way you can.
For more on WDofP and PNG go to http://www.wwdp-natcomm.org/
For more on IWD go to http://www.internationalwomensday.com/
For more on MWR go to http://www.millionwomenrise.com/