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Gender Equality Theology (Pacific Region)

More than 90% of people across the Pacific identify as Christian, and the Church’s teachings have a significant influence on people’s attitudes and behaviours. But ~68% of women and girls experience violence in their homes and communities.

Our Church partners are acting as change agents in society to address gender equality through Biblical teaching on gender relations and human dignity. What is preached from the pulpit impacts life within the home. They are challenging traditional views on gender and addressing institutional inequality. 

We support a network of churches and Pacific theologians to create theological resources (Bible studies, workshop materials etc.); lead dialogues with church leaders 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.

You can help!

 

 

 

COVID-19 Pandemic response

Research has shown that during a period of crisis, the risk of domestic violence escalates and the COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. Domestic violence has increased in the Pacific in line with health and economic concerns. With many planned project activities disrupted, our partners have found innovative ways to get important messages out and continue their work including through social media, television, and radio. We are all learning to live with COVID-19, but many of the long-term social and economic consequences continue. Your ongoing support is critical for project activities to continue to make a difference.

 

Resources

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

UnitingWorld Gender Equality Theology Poster series. Download the high resolution files here.

 

This project was partly funded by the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative between 2016-2021.

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, played at cinemas around the country.

Churches in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kiribati developed and adopted Safeguarding and Protection Policies at the national level including complaints mechanisms and Codes of Conduct for ministers and church workers in line with local protection laws.

The Methodist Church in Fiji 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.

Churches in Fiji, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Kiribati appointed focal points for gender equality and identified trained ministers to resource the church with sermons and bible studies about gender equality. Together, they hold training for leaders across all parts of the church promote key messages on social media, television and radio, and provide school students and young couples with information about gender equality and healthy relationships.

In all countries, church ministers, pastors and other leaders have publicly shared anti-violence and gender equality messages in churches and online, including during COVID-19 lockdowns when rates of domestic violence dramatically increased.

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).

Category

Gender Equality

News from the Field

  • Our partners share about the impact of Gender Equality TheologyOur partners share about the impact of Gender Equality Theology
    Our church partners in Fiji, Vanuatu, Kiribati and Solomon Islands are reaching out in faith to shift community norms and behaviours that allow or excuse family violence, to prevent it long before it has the chance to happen. They are doing it using the heart language of the Pacific, where upwards of 90% of people identify with a Christian faith. Since 2012, we’ve been supporting our Pacific partners in a unique and powerful approach, addressing the root causes and breaking cycles ...
  • Faith that transforms violence: Rev Noa and the power of Gender Equality TheologyFaith that transforms violence: Rev Noa and the power of Gender Equality Theology
    Growing up, Rev Noa Turaganivalu had a typical life for a boy in Fiji. He was raised in a rural village on a small, remote island, played a lot of rugby and went away to a boarding school (where he played more rugby). And as the only son in a family of six, he was always regarded as ‘first’ and ‘above’ his three sisters. “It’s been a cultural and traditional norm for the male to come first and be at the top ...
  • Building equality and ending violence in the PacificBuilding equality and ending violence in the Pacific
    More than 70% of women in the Pacific experience violence at the hands of a man in their lifetimes. With the vast majority of people across the Pacific self-identifying as Christian, Pacific churches have been taking responsibility to speak up for the rights of women and girls, and calling out violence and inequality as a sin. As part of their mission to support the welfare of communities, churches have been using biblical teaching to encourage men and boys to understand that ...
  • Tropical Cyclone Harold and COVID-19Tropical Cyclone Harold and COVID-19
    In 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 storyTurning tragedy into triumph | Mary's story
    Mary’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 ...