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Vatican plea at UN for greater role for women

An increased role for women will benefit a society that is "organised solely according to the criteria of efficiency and productivity or of brute force," the Vatican said in a statement presented at United Nations headquarters in New York last week.

It said women are "especially gifted" in showing the need to rise above self-interest and work for the betterment of all.

"Through feminine insight, women enrich the world's understanding, and help to make human relations between and amongst people more honest and authentic," it said.

The statement was presented to the Commission on the Status of Women by Marilyn A. Martone, who teaches in the department of theology and religious studies at St. John's University in the New York borough of Queens.

She told members of the commission, holding its annual meeting until Friday, that the contribution of women to meeting the world's needs was made "at great sacrifice."

Meanwhile Pope John Paul has appointed US professor Mary Ann Glendon (pictured) to head a Vatican academy, the first time a woman has chaired such an important group within the Church.

The Vatican said in a statement that Dr Glendon, a professor of law at Harvard Law School, would lead the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

News of Glendon's appointment came two days after the Church named the first female theologians as Vatican consultants.

Men hold all the top jobs in the Curia, the Vatican bureaucracy. The main senior posts for women in the Church are as heads of religious congregations of nuns.

Increased role for women would benefit society, Vatican says at U.N. (Catholic News Service 8/3/04)
Pope appoints first woman to head church academy (Reuters 9/3/04)

Holy See Urges Support for Women in All Areas of Society (Zenit 8/3/04)
Pope makes five U.S. appointments, including senior position for Harvard prof (Associated Press/Boston HErald 9/3/04)
Holy See's Address on Status of Women (Zenit 8/3/04)
Contribution of women in maintaining peace and security (Vatican Information Service 9/3/04)

10 Mar 2004