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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 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 reexamining 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.

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.

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).

Category

Gender Equality

News from the Field

  • 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 ...
  • First female lecturer a win for equalityFirst 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 KiribatiHealthy 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 ...