For three days, women from various cultural and social contexts across five continents will offer the most complete vision possible on contemporary questions that affect women worldwide. They will do so in the International Conference “Women towards the Agenda for Post-2015 Development. What Are the Challenges of the Objectives of Sustainable Development?” which will be held in Rome from May 22-24. The Conference was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, together with the World Union of Women’s Catholic Organizations (WUCWO) and the World Women’s Alliance for Life and Family.
Because 2015 is a crucial year for the International Community, given that the United Nations will elaborate and discuss the new agenda for development, which will be the international community’s new framework for the next 15 years.
During the presentation of the event held today in the Holy See Press Office, Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the aforementioned dicastery, explained that the congress will engage in feminine anthropological analysis in regard to modern culture. In addition, topics will also be addressed relating to education and interreligious dialogue.
On the other hand, the Cardinal specified that this 2nd International Conference on Women “will be an occasion to debate on many old and new forms of slavery and violence suffered by women, with different facets in the different parts of the world. In this regard, he noted that while in the Western world domestic violence prevails and episodes of so-called ‘feminicides’ grow, in some poorer areas of developing countries instead “infanticides of girls and selective abortions of female fetuses are numerous..
Although important progress had been made in favor of women’s causes in several countries, “there is still much to be done,” said the Cardinal. He also hoped that the Conference will make a useful contribution in the framework of the negotiations underway for the new agenda for post-2015 development.
For her part, the President of the World Women’s Alliance for Life and Family (WWALF), Olimpia Tarzia, said: “We know well how in the present individualist society and in the prevailing culture, often subject to the dictatorship of ethical relativism, utilitarian logics prevail. [They are] united exclusively to profit, which end by commercializing also the human being.” Therefore, she said, “we cannot fail to denounce the fact that it is precisely poverty that pushes these women to ‘rent’ their womb, risking their lives. “
In addition, she explained that the heart of WWALF’s mission is to spread a new Feminism allied to life and the family. And she said she was convinced that the document that will emerge from the debate of these days will be a precious cultural reference, which will be the cornerstone in the secular trajectory of women in the Church and in society in general.
Also taking part in the Conference is Maria Giovanna Ruggieri, President of the World Union of Women’s Catholic Organizations, which represents some five million Catholic women of all the continents and was founded in 1910.
Ruggieri considers that the objectives established by the UN are real for the whole of humanity, with special attention to women and with an indispensable contribution of women. In the last world assembly they held, they identified three priorities: the family, the young generations and the poor. Finally she said that the Agenda for the Objectives of Sustainable Development “challenge us and asks us for an ever new capacity of dialogue and action with many men and women of good will to follow ways of solidarity and fraternity, to learn to perceive faces, especially of the poorest, in which as believers we should see the face of the Lord.”
To conclude, Flaminia Giovanelli, under-secretary of the Pontifical Council for justice and Peace, said that the laws that protect women are very necessary but that a cultural change is also necessary, not only in men but also in women. Woman can contribute much for the realization of these objectives of sustainable development but “also necessary is a sustainable society for her.”