Friday, 13 June 2008

Last among equals

Three cheers for Tearfund!

I've just been reading the latest issue of Teartimes, and a particularly fascinating and heart-rending article on women in Liberia.

These are the opening words of the article: 'An invisible injustice is putting lives at risk. It affects at least half of your church. Some Christians believe the Bible teaches it. But in Liberia, and across the world, the belief that women are inferior to men is having devastatingly visible consequences.'

The author then speaks of a woman who was raped and later got sick: with HIV. She was nearly stoned to death, by a crowd including her brother.

A reminder about how tough the world is for women:
  • only one per cent of the world's women own land
  • 70 per cent of the 1.2 billion people living in poverty are women and children
  • 67 per cent of illiterate people in the world are women
  • of the 191 member countries of the United Nations, only 12 have female leaders.

Tearfund is working with partner organisations for gender justice in Liberia.

The article also quotes David Peck, the Archbishop of Canterbury's Secretary for International Development: 'How on earth have we allowed women - who bear the brunt of so much poverty and family breakdown - to bear the brunt of HIV? What in God's name are we thinking, and what in God's name are we reading, that allows suffering and death visited upon women by predatory male sexuality to go unchecked? The church needs to be healed from the sin of patriarchy.'

Not so much healing, as repentance?

But this may also be an issue closer to home; does inequality between the sexes breed injustice in our own community? How can we challenge injustice wherever we meet it?

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