Catholic students put gender on agenda
In a statement for today's International Women's Day, an Asia-Pacific Catholic student group has called for effective work for gender justice and equality and criticised men as the main perpetrators of gender violence.
The International Movement of Catholic Students Asia-Pacific office in Manila has warned that "to genuinely respect women, celebrating IWD (International Women's Day) is not enough".
"We have to constantly work and voice out for women rights," the movement's statement said.
"Women are very progressive today and have many success stories to tell but majority women are facing many obstacles in terms of human rights and equality," the statement says.
The movement singled out for attack the "odious but increasingly common" practice of women and children trafficking, the targeting of women in armed conflict and the incidences of HIV/AIDS among young women.
"In these modern times, in many places, women are living under extreme violence and male dominated structures and it is clear that violence against women and girls remains a devastating reality in the world," the statement said calling for students to play "a prophetic role" in building gender equality.
40th anniversary for Vinnies women
Meanwhile, in Australia, the St Vincent de Paul Society also released a statement for International Women's Day acknowledging the 40th Anniversary of women becoming full members of the St Vincent de Paul Society.
"Women have always been a dominant force in the Society," a Vinnies statement says.
The statement continues: "although this year Vinnies celebrates the 40th anniversary of women becoming full members, women have influenced, inspired and shaped the St Vincent de Paul Society from the very beginning.
"Society founder Frederic Ozanam sought the guidance of Sister Rosalie Rendu of the Daughters of Charity, who taught the young student how to befriend the poor with love, kindness and respect for human dignity. "
In 1856 a women's branch of the Society, The Women's Society of St Vincent de Paul, was formed in Italy, distinct from the men's branch.
According to the statement, these women assisted the poor by dealing with issues which, at that time, were not typically handled by men, including the care of widows, orphan girls and mothers with small families.
A women's branch was established in Australia 1906 and by 1933 there were twenty-four ladies' conferences.
The women's and men's societies amalgamated in 1967.
Vinnies Celebrates a Special Milestone on International Women's Day (Vinnies, Media Release, 7/3/07)
Promoting Student Empowerment towards Gender Justice (IMCS Asia Pacific, Media Release, 7/3/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
International Women's Day
IMCS Asia Pacific
8 Mar 2007