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Gender Equality Theology (Pacific Region)

COVID-19 Pandemic response

Research has shown that during a period of crisis, the risk of domestic violence escalates. The COVID-19 pandemic presents a combination of economic and health uncertainties that can spur an increase in domestic violence in the Pacific. Many project activities cannot continue as normal, but our partners are finding innovative ways to get important messages out and continue their work. Your ongoing support is critical for project activities to continue during COVID-19 and beyond.

Solomon Islands

With no cases of COVID-19 in Solomon Islands and with physical distancing precautions taken, our partner church’s (UCSI) gender project team facilitated a retreat in late March with ministers and their spouses to address two global pandemics – COVID-19 hygienic messaging and preparedness, and addressing violence against women and girls. The Assembly office is planning to send staff to reach remote areas with COVID-19 awareness and preparedness together with Gender Equality Theology and Theology of Child Protection and care messages to people who are living in fear and confinement in isolated communities.

Kiribati

The Reitan Aine ki Kamatu (RAK – Women’s Fellowship of the Kiribati Uniting Church) will continue to deliver their radio broadcasts on Gender Equality Theology and Theology of Child Protection and Care through this project.

Fiji

With a national lockdown measures in place, the Methodist Women’s Fellowship through the Gender Equality Theology project are exploring alternative ways to continue to share Gender Equality Theology and Theology of Child Protection and Care messages during this time.

Vanuatu

The Presbyterian Women’s Mission Union (PWMU) Project Team are unable to carry out many of their activities as normal, but they be showing the ‘Violence is a Sin’ message from PCV leaders’ advert, on Vanuatu TV during this time. They will also be running a text message campaign and reaching people through alternative media such as Facebook where they can continue to share messages of valuing family life, healthy human relationships, the importance of hand washing and how to make homemade masks.

95% of people across the Pacific identify as Christian and the church’s teachings have a massive influence on people’s behaviour. But ~68% of women and girls experience violence in their homes and communities. We support Pacific churches to address gender inequality and violence by re-examining their theology.

We support a network of Pacific theologians to create theological resources (Bible studies, workshop materials etc) and lead dialogue in gender theology; run workshops to engage men and women in examining beliefs and behaviour; and invest in education and livelihoods projects that empower women.

Resources

Use our resources on gender equality theology in your church or Bible study group! Download them here.

This project is partly funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative.

Our Impact

Seven mainline denominations in PNG officially adopted gender equality as their doctrinal position, and have committed to teaching this theology as part of their ministerial training.

In Fiji, the ten denominations that make up the Fiji Council of Churches made a joint public statement condemning violence against women as sinful, publicised through a cinema advertising video.

The Methodist Church in Fiji adopted a code of conduct for its leaders rejecting violence against women and children, and took disciplinary action against those who did not comply.

They also changed their advice to women seeking help for domestic violence, suggesting they access the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre, an organisation previously condemned by the church for supporting divorce.

In Vanuatu, the Presbyterian Church appointed a focal point for gender equality, and held training for leaders across all parts of the church, developing resources for propagating the teaching of gender equality through sermons and bible studies.

Country

Fiji, Kiribati, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

Partners

Methodist Church in Fiji, Kiribati Uniting Church, Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu, United Church in Papua New Guinea, United Church in the Solomon Islands (UCSI) and the Solomon Islands Christian Association (SICA).

Program Unit

Relief & Development (tax-deductible)

Category

Gender Equality

News from the Field

  • Tropical Cyclone Harold and COVID-19 Tropical Cyclone Harold and COVID-19In the middle of preparing COVID-19 lockdown measures, Tropical Cyclone Harold hit the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga over 1-11 April. Reaching up to Category 5, the cyclone forced people into evacuation centres where proper physical distancing became impossible. Homes and food supplies were destroyed, resulting in what has been called a “double-disaster” for the people and communities affected. Below are some updates from our church partners. Solomon Islands TC Harold struck the Solomon Islands first as a Category 3 cyclone, damaging ...
  • Turning tragedy into triumph | Mary’s story Turning tragedy into triumph | Mary's storyMary’s father told her not to do it. Her husband told her not to do it. Everyone in her community told her not to do it. She did it anyway… Mary went to college to begin training to become the first woman pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu. It may seem like a small thing, but in a place where the dominant culture says that men  are the leaders and women follow, you simply cannot imagine what a triumph this was, or how ...
  • First female lecturer a win for equality First female lecturer a win for equality “90% of people in the Solomon Islands believe in God. When a message about women comes from the Bible, their eyes are open, they feel it has more weight. And that’s why we will see a reduction in gender-based violence and increased respect for women in our society.” If anyone has the insight to comment on what might make a difference to violence against women in the Pacific, it’s Pastor Lima Tura.  The sole female lecturer at Seghe Theological College in the Solomon Islands, Lima has ...
  • Healthy families and safe communities in Kiribati Healthy families and safe communities in Kiribati Project Update: Kiribati Safe Families, Healthy Communities The Kiribati Safe Families, Healthy Communities project has gone through two phases. In the first phase of the project, we worked with RAK (Reitan Aine ki Kamatu – Women’s Fellowship of the Kiribati Uniting Church) to support the establishment of raised vegetable garden beds through resources and training. Kiribati women identified this as important for three main reasons: 1. Food securityWith the increasing effects of climate change on their tiny islands growing food had become more and ...
  • Turn the other cheek? Turn the other cheek? Gender Equality Theology changing hearts and minds in Papua New Guinea Salote and Jone have been married 11 years, members of a Christian church, and have two beautiful children. They love one another, but throughout their marriage they’ve had times of conflict and Jone has become angry, abusive and resorted to violence. Each time he pleads for forgiveness, vows to change and for a time makes good on his promise. Each time, violence returns. Salote wants to believe that ...