Holy See Urges Support for Women in All Areas of Society

Addresses Commission at United Nations

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NEW YORK, MARCH 8, 2004 (Zenit.org).- The struggle for respect for women calls for something more than condemnations, the Holy See said as it proposed a campaign to promote women in all sectors of society.

Marilyn Ann Martone made that point on behalf of the Holy See when she addressed the Commission on the Status of Women, meeting at the United Nations through next Friday.

“My delegation is convinced that the road to ensure swift progress in achieving full respect for women and their identity involves more than simply the condemnation of discrimination and injustices, necessary though this may be,” Martone said.

“Such respect must first and foremost be achieved through an effective and intelligent campaign for the promotion of women, involving all sectors of the human society,” she said.

“Women should be teachers and builders of peace and should be given this opportunity by means of an adequate preparation,” Martone said Thursday. The Vatican press office published her address today, a day designated by the United Nations as International Woman’s Day.

The Vatican’s representative called for recognition of women’s “sacrifice” in various areas.

“This sacrifice mandates authentic equality in every area: equal pay for equal work, protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights, and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of all in a democratic society,” Martone said.

“This is a matter if justice and of necessity,” she stressed.

In particular, the Holy See’s delegate analyzed the role of women in “conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution.”

“Too many women today are still victims of violence and war” as well as of “domestic violence,” she said.

In particular, Martone mentioned “the problem of refugee and internally displaced women who are having to cope not only with their own personal suffering, but also with the fatigue and responsibility of taking care, in such desperate situations, of the children and elder members of the family.”

“Sadly, when armed conflict emerges at any level, women become the special target of combatants in ways that dehumanize their dignity,” the papal representative noted.

“The time has come to condemn and sanction vigorously sexual brutalities perpetrated against women,” Martone said. “In this regard, the involvement of women in the management of material help and medical and psychological assistance to the victims of such violence could be of significant importance.”

Lastly, Martone condemned “the widespread hedonistic and commercial culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of girls and women.”

“There is another form of conflict that has terrible consequences on the life of millions of human beings,” she said. “We must not fail, in the name of the respect due to them, to condemn the widespread hedonistic and commercial culture which encourages the systematic exploitation of girls and women.”

“The trafficking in women and children must cease,” she added. “The contribution of women in the decision-making process to combat this shameful trafficking can be decisive, because they are the first victims of such crimes.”

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