Trafficking, sexual slavery, child prostitution ... all are gross violations of human dignity and demand urgent attention.
Maryknoll missioners’ work overseas with women is extensive and diverse, in areas including, but not limited to, refugees; HIV and AIDS victims and prevention; domestic violence; prostitution; sexual exploitation and trafficking; women in jail; income generation; agriculture; indigenous rights; nutrition; health and mental health; human rights; and formal and informal education.
The Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns (MOGC) follows issues affecting women because in most societies, in general, women endure a lower status than men. Since women comprise half of the world’s population, this gender inequality remains one of the major challenges for global justice and peace. Gender inequality and the lack of implementation of women’s rights is based mainly in cultural traditions, but is reinforced by poverty, lack of opportunities, armed conflict, and migration, among others. Full recognition of women’s rights and dignity brings positive effects to communities.
Our framework for this work are the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979, along with its Optional Protocol adopted in 1999; and the Beijing Platform for Action, adopted in 1995.
The CEDAW is legally binding, meaning that countries that ratify this treaty have to review their legislation to match CEDAW’s provisions. (The U.S. has not ratified CEDAW, despite being a major player in the drafting process of this treaty.) The Beijing Platform for Action is not a treaty, but is a major agreement on actions to which governments committed in order to advance the status of women worldwide.
The MOGC links Maryknoll work’s in the field with global issues and promotes the direct participation of Maryknoll members and their local coworkers in UN gatherings: global meetings and regular sessions, especially the annual session related with the UN Commission on the Advancement of Women. To reverse gender inequality, we give special attention to the girl child through the UNICEF/NGO Working Group on the Girl Child.
Learn more at UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the UN in New York from March 12-23. Representatives of member states, UN entities, and NGOs from all regions of the world attended. A total of nine Maryknoll Sisters, including Srs. Marvie Misolas, Veronica Schweyen, and Mary Ann Smith, were participants.
The following reflection was prepared by Maryknoll Sr. Efu Nyaki, who works with women in Brazil.
Trafficking in persons is a crime against humanity and ultimately a sin. Human trafficking denies the values of human life, exposes victims to serious health risks, endangers the mental well-being of victims and impedes the ability of victims to reach their full God-given potential. As Christians, we believe that every human being is created in the image and likeness of the divine Creator, of God. The prophets cried out against the exploitation of the poor and of laborers who are not treated fairly and compensated justly (Job 24:1-12).
Maryknoll Sister Jareen Aquino applies Jesus' call to the Apostles to "come and see" to the girls and young women in need of education and empowerment in Tanzania.
Plan now to attend the Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Advocacy Summit in Washington, D.C., June 17-19. The theme is “And Still We Rise: Transforming U.S. Policy Toward a Just Middle East.” And Still We Rise seeks to elevate the voices, contributions, and leadership of women peacemakers. http://cmep.org/werise2018/
Women are the largest group to be affected by violent conflict and yet often have the least participation in its resolution. At the same time, research shows that women are essential to the success of any peace process.
Frustrated with the stalled peace process, tens of thousands of Palestinian and Israeli women marched for miles through the desert calling for a viable peace agreement.
Maryknoll Father Paul Masson has served as a missioner in Chile and on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Maryknoll Father David Schwinghamer recalls a chance encounter with someone who, like the Samaritan woman at the well, demonstrates that even ordinary folk, once baptized, are meant to be messengers of the good news.
Bob Short, who served as a lay missioner in Ecuador in the 1980s, now coordinates the Maryknoll Affiliates, an international community.
In this reflection, Maryknoll Sister Theresa Baldini remembers women she encountered in South Sudan.