LWF General Secretary Junge Affirms Commitment to Gender Justice

(left to right) Caroline Richter, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Rev. Martin Junge, Lopa Banerjee and Dennis Frado. Photo: Christine Mangale
(left to right) Caroline Richter, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Rev. Martin Junge, Lopa Banerjee and Dennis Frado. Photo: Christine Mangale

Meeting with Executive Director of UN Women Mlambo-Ngcuka

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge underlined the communion of churches’ commitment to gender justice and the empowerment of women at a meeting with United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“The Gender Justice Policy, approved by the LWF Council in 2013, was received with great appreciation by the Executive Director of UN Women and affirmed as a very important contribution for a discussion among faith-based organizations,” Junge said of the 16 April meeting in New York.

“We discussed ways to support each other in fostering civil societies' participation in the review process of the situation of women and girls in the context of Beijing+20. Their emphasis on youth participation connects in strong ways with the pivotal role that LWF Youth is playing regarding the Reformation anniversary in 2017,” he added.

In 1995, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women and subsequently endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1996. The Beijing Platform for Action constitutes a global framework for realizing gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

It calls upon governments, the international community and civil society, encompassing non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector, to empower women and girls by taking action in 12 critical areas: poverty, education and training, health, violence, armed conflict, the economy, power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights, the media, the environment and the girl child.

At the annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting last month, Mlambo-Ngcuka emphasized the crucial role churches and church-based organizations play in eradicating gender inequality. She named violence and discrimination against women as a moral issue that requires churches to assume their prophetic role and put women at the centre.

“I have come to offer our own journey as a Christian World Communion on issues related to women's empowerment and gender justice. Important steps have been achieved by the LWF already, yet we are also aware of the important stretch that is ahead of us,” Junge said.

“Violence against women continues to be a reality in this world, and unjust relationships continue to characterize the interaction between genders. Our engagement in these issues is our own way to live up to our vision to be a communion of churches that works together for a just, peaceful and reconciled world.”

Junge and Mlambo-Ngcuka, the first woman to hold the position of Deputy President of South Africa, also discussed “the need to strengthen civil society in its involvement for an enhanced implementation of human rights commitments related to women.”