From the Worldwide Faith News archives

WCC Leader Says Economic Justice for Women

Date 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  
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