UnitingWorld has launched a project to support the training and ministry of women in Pacific communities.
Transforming Lives Through Leadership is the first project of a major UnitingWorld initiative focusing on gender in the Pacific. It will support women at theological college, providing them with practical resources including student fees and accommodation, and encouraging them to take leadership roles in their churches and communities.
Women living in the Pacific have an 80 per cent chance of encountering domestic violence, and work for wages that are far less than their male counterparts. Only three per cent of leadership positions are held by women.
Marnie Frost, UnitingWorld External Relations Manager, says that Pacific women in leadership positions in the Church have the potential to transform whole communities.
“Women within our partner churches tell us first-hand about the anguish facing families displaced by rising tides. They tell us of the high rate of domestic violence in many communities, so often left unchallenged.”
Because the Church is powerful in many Pacific communities, it can act as an agent of change, she says.
“Female church leaders can foster environments where women share experiences, speak frankly and critically appraise their faith. They can tackle sensitive issues and work to change the perceptions of traditional female roles in the wider community.”
Photo : One of the Pacific women who will receive support to study at theological college through the UnitingWorld Transforming Lives Through Leadership project. Photo: UnitingWorld