For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. – Galatians 3:27-28 (ESV)
The World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) encourages strong participation to promote gender equality on the 107th International Women’s Day, 8 March 2018.
“This day encourages women to break the silence and fear and to speak up. Today as a World Communion we stand with all the women struggling, whether in the church or in the community around us, and we join their struggle which is our struggle as well,” said Najla Kassab, WCRC president.
“Our voice is needed in the family and workplace as an advocate for children and those most vulnerable,” said Lisa Vander Wal, one of three female WCRC vice presidents. “I believe we are able to speak truth to power in ways that men often don’t speak. I am grateful for many strong women in my life who have modelled Christ-like graces and mature faith.”
Gender equality is over 200 years away, according to World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap report. But momentum for gender parity is developing with global activism for women’s equality driven by movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp.
“This is a day where the world joins hands to point to practices that dehumanize women,” said Kassab. “It is a day that empowers women to see their value in the eyes of God and to speak up against gender injustice.
“Every country expresses the struggle in a different way. This year the international community calls for a strike on March 8 where women are asked to stop work for one hour. It is a call to open the eyes of the world to how woman are taken for granted, showing that things are not well and the struggle should continue.”
The WCRC is committed to gender justice through a variey of programmes and projects, including its theological education scholarship for women.
The Declaration of Faith on Women’s Ordination, adopted by the WCRC’s 2017 General Council, “testifies to our belief that women and men were created equally in the image of God and therefore should be treated with equal respect and dignity. …It testifies to our experience over centuries that God has been calling both women and men to ministries of spiritual leadership and granting them the gifts and graces to carry out those roles. …The churches of the WCRC now pledge that our common practice will be to welcome into ordained ministry women who experience that call and who demonstrate the gifts necessary for leadership and service in church ministries. Their placement and any compensation will be determined on the same basis as for men.”
“I believe this day is important and serves to underscore that God calls and gifts women for important and significant work in the church and world,” said Vander Wal.
The 2017 General Council also instructed the organization to develop a Gender Justice Policy by 2019, collaborating with its regional councils to foster and encourage the use of this policy as the practice of the whole communion of churches, delineating issues of gender-based violence within church and society.
International Women’s Day is a commemoration and a strong call to action to press forward gender inclusivity. The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is a strong call to #PressforProgress, motivating and uniting whole communities globally.