From the Worldwide Faith News archives www.wfn.org
WCC Leader Says Economic Justice for Women
04 May 1996 20:38:50
95338 WCC Leader Says Economic Justice for Women
Neglected at Beijing Conference
By Stephen Brown
Ecumenical News International
GENEVA--The leader of the World Council of Churches' (WCC) delegation to
the United Nations' Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing has
criticized the unwillingness of governments represented at the conference
to tackle the issue of economic justice in relation to women's rights.
Janice Love, a Methodist from South Carolina, who is moderator of the
WCC's board for international affairs, spoke Sept. 15 at a press briefing
at WCC headquarters in Geneva on her return from the Chinese capital.
Although there were "several major gaps" in the Platform for Action of
the World Conference," which included the issues of economic justice,
migrant women, and racism, Love said that she was "delighted" by the strong
focus in the Platform on the need to overcome violence against women.
Love said that the value of the conference lay in its affirmation of
the "substantial gains" achieved by women in recent years, in the face of
severe reaction against the concerns, perspectives and status of women.
"There's no going back," Love said. "There's only going forward."
Aruna Gnanadson, who was present in Beijing and coordinates the
women's desk of the World Council of Churches, criticized the governments
represented in Beijing for their unwillingness to make financial
commitments to support the promises they made in the Platform for Action.
She also criticized the "marginalization" of the role of
nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the official United Nations
More than 3,200 NGOs participated in the NGO Forum held in conjunction
with the official conference. The NGO Forum took place in the town of
Huairou, 50 kilometers from Beijing.
Gnanadson said that the NGO Forum had been a meeting place of
Christian women worldwide. Women from the northern hemisphere had found a
"common agenda" with women from the Third World.
Although the WCC did not wish to underplay the issue of religious
fundamentalism, Gnanadson said, the negative impact of religion on women's
lives had been so "overplayed" at the Forum that women who would have liked
to affirm the "liberative power of religion" found it hard to find a niche.
For more information contact Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY 40202
phone 502-569-5504 fax 502-569-8073
E-mail PCUSA.NEWS@pcusa.org Web page: http://www.pcusa.org
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