The following has been cross-posted from WO=MEN in New York, a diary written by youth advocates attending the 55th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). To read more about the CSW, click here.
At the moment, negotiations about the Agreed Conclusions are continuing and slowly moving towards language that all country delegations can agree upon. In the previous blogpost we wrote about the obstructive attitudes of the Holy See as well as the African Group towards gender equality in the Agreed Conclusions of CSW55. Let us not forget that there are many individuals and organizations around the world, many of which are our partners, who support gender equality, freedom of choice, as well as sexual and reproductive health and rights from a Catholic perspective.
Authors Rineke van Dam and Joni van de Sand
Freedom of Choice
Catholics for Choice (CFC) stand for “a woman’s moral and legal right to follow her conscience in matters of sexuality and reproductive health”. This organization argues from a Catholic perspective that men and women can be trusted to make moral decisions about their lives. Within their programs, they promote condom use and provision of comprehensive sexuality education information. This enables boys, girls, women and men to feel comfortable about their sexuality and live a healthy life.
Priest against HIV/Aids
Irish priest Michael J. Kelly wishes to see structural changes in the status of women. He argues for the urgency for change due to the feminization of HIV/Aids since “without a frontal attack on the injustice of gender inequality – in church, state and every walk of life- the dominance of the epidemic will continue.” According to him, the “Catholic Church must move away from its own discrimination and gender stereotypes towards women and promote their ‘active empowerment’ within it and in society.”
Gender equality as a human right
The “Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India” was written in 2010 during the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India. The document provides a whole chapter with religious argumentation in favor of gender equality. Moreover, they argue that equality between women and men is both a human rights issue and a pre-condition for, and indicator of, sustainable people-centered development.