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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 and climate change is disproportionately affecting women and girls.

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, Pacific theologians and gender practitioners who are developing and implementing safe church policies and using theological resources to lead dialogues with church and community leaders in gender theology and run workshops to engage men, women and young people in examining beliefs and behaviour.

This regional project brings together this network of change makers to tell their stories, to learn from and with each other, and to collaborate on new theological, culturally relevant resources.

Storytelling and Learning Events 2023 – Promoting gender justice in and through faith communities in Oceania

In 2023, UnitingWorld supported a group of faith leaders, practitioners and volunteers from across Oceania to gather at a series of storytelling and learning events to ask: what is already working to advance gender equality and gender justice in our region, and why? And how can we apply what is already working to our own contexts? You can read all about the inspiring approaches churches and other faith based organisations are using to tackle gender inequality and moving stories of change in this resource. Download it here.

You can help support this valuable work!




This project was partly funded through the ACT Alliance Gender Justice program with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in 2022-2023.


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


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.




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.


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


Methodist Church in Fiji, Kiribati Uniting Church, Presbyterian Church in Vanuatu, United Church in Papua New Guinea, United Church in the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu Christian Church


Gender Equality

News from the Field

  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Theology of gender equality making waves in the PacificTheology of gender equality making waves in the Pacific
    UnitingWorld hosted its annual five-day workshop on Gender Equality Theology in early November. Led by Pacific theologians Rev Dr Cliff Bird and Siera Bird, ministers from partner churches across the Pacific met in Nadi, Fiji, to wrestle with biblical themes of equality and anti-violence. They discussed how principles from the Bible can be powerful forces for positive change in their communities, where violence against women continues to be a significant problem. Participants expressed their appreciation for what they learned throughout the week ...