After a significant period of media attention and international upheaval surrounding the harassment, violence and discrimination that women face daily, the Council for Australian Catholic Women (CACW) is urging Catholics to educate themselves about the specific disadvantages that affect rural women ahead of International Women’s Day.
“The inequality that exists across a whole range of areas is unacceptable and while it shouldn’t take International Women’s Day to put the spotlight on this issue, March 8 must be a day for us all to consider how we help correct this injustice,” said Lorraine Barker, chair of CACW.
Empowering Rural Women
The theme for this year's event is ‘Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’, drawing on the theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
With a rising determination to make a change, the day aims to help give a voice to and support the work, rights and activism of the women living in rural areas across the globe.
With rural women making up more than one quarter of the world’s population, the disadvantages they face are far worse than men in rural areas or women who live in urban areas.
“In Australia, the impact of disadvantage can be exacerbated for women in rural and remote locations, where employment opportunities are scarce, welfare and health services are limited, family and social support networks can be stretched due to the tyranny of distance and the population declines because younger generations are moving to metropolitan areas, resulting in the loss of social infrastructure,” said John Ferguson from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.
Equality in the Church
As churches and other faith-based groups around the world use the day to underline their shared commitment to empowering women, the Australian Catholic Church remains on a mission to increase the number of women in decision-making, leadership and ministry roles within the Church.
The CACW continues to provide advice to the Bishops Commission for Church Ministry about the inclusion of women and their participation in the Catholic Church in Australia, while also coordinating mentoring and leadership development programs for young women.
“The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day invites all Australians to salute women and acknowledge the rich support that they provide to family, community and Church,” said Bishop Michael McCarthy, Bishop Delegate to the CACW.
“Our Catholic tradition honours the many ways that women minister and provide pastoral care.”
A Daily Reminder
In the lead up to International Women’s Day the Diocese will be releasing daily articles highlighting and celebrating some of the amazing achievements of Catholic women throughout the world.
Stay tuned to MNnews as we share the stories of some of the most influential women throughout the history of Catholicism.