change language
you are in: home - ecumenis...dialogue - internat...or peace - world me... to hope contacting usnewsletterlink

Support the Community


HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS, our answer to the war in Syria

the words by Andrea Riccardi at the press conference in the airport, welcoming the refugees that arrived this morning. WATCH PHOTO AND VIDEO

World Religions in Assisi with Pope Francis


printable version
September 30 2013 09:00 | Conference Hall of Villa Maria


Katherine Marshall

Executive Director of the World Faiths Development Dialogue, USA
Welcome to this discussion. The changing roles of women and men, and thus their relationships, are a leading issue for our era. New roles for women are part of the courage to hope for a better future where the ideals of equality among all peoples and human dignity are truly lived. 
These are not simple issues because they involve profound changes in many traditions. They affect every human being from the time they awake until they sleep. They affect the shape and behavior of families, the foundation of society. I would argue that relations between men and women involve more energy, more ethical challenges, more demands than any other human relationship. Thus they are central to religious beliefs, traditions, behavior, and leadership.
In the work that the Berkely Center at Georgetown and the World Faiths Development Dialogue have done over eight years on religion and development, one issue has emerged more than any other. It is how religious institutions address the changing roles of women and men. Religious institutions tend to describe themselves are guardians, protectors of women. Feminism is often a bad word, suggesting wanton values and the breakdown of families. Yet many, from within and outside religious communities, paint a different picture. That picture involves patriarchy, where men dominate, isolation of women, denigration of women s ideas and priorities, and assumptions of male authority. No other issue so perturbs the appreciation of what religious traditions have to offer in the world.
Violence against women is a central part of this troubling scene. Violence against women is probably as ancient as any other human practice. But something is very new. We know far more about it. And it may be happening in forms and on a scale hitherto unknown. A third of women worldwide report some form of domestic violence. Worse, as many as half have never spoken of it. Shame and expectations drive a terrible silence. We know also about the horrors of violence against women in war, rape as a tool of conflict. Trafficking in women is a large, probably growing dimension of globalization. Violence in communities, harassment and far worse, are all too common. The marriage of children, keeping girls out of school, are other forms of violence. Women are an all too common face of poverty.
We can and should expect that religious communities would be at the very forefront of contesting and combatting these trends, the more so as we know what is happening. In some cases this is happening. In many others it is not. Silence, discomfort, and acceptance are too common perceptions of how religious traditions approach violence against women. We can work to change that picture.
This discussion today is an opportunity to explore what is being done (and what is not), the issues that lie behind, and new ideas for action. 
Let me introduce our wonderful panel of speakers. We must finish by 11 so we must be disciplined with time. I encourage bold ideas and new directions, with courage to hope that this discussion can represent a breakthrough on topics too often kept at the margins or in the darkness.

in the World



October 23 2013

The courage to hope: three videos

From Côte d'Ivoire to Rome, the images of this year's meetings of men and religions broadcast again on television
IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA | ID
October 3 2013

The spirit of Assisi in Texas

Nearly 1,000 people in San Antonio Texas for the U.S. edition of The Courage of Hope
IT | EN | ES | DE | PT
October 2 2013

“The Courage to Hope”, also organised in Africa.

Religions meeting in Abidjan, in connection with Rome
IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA | ID
October 1 2013

Speech of the Holy Father Francis to the participants of the International Meeting for Peace “The Courage to Hope”

IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA | ID
October 1 2013
To delegitimize religious terrorism

The Indian intellectual Kulkarni said: “Religious Terrorism divides ‘in primis’ its originating religion”.

IT | EN | ES | DE | PT | CA | ID
October 1 2013
To delegitimize religious terrorism

Catholic Theologian Puig i Tàrrech: «Terrorism in the name of God is an attack to all the faithful»

IT | EN | ES | PT | CA | ID
all related news

October 24 2016 | ROME, ITALY

HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS, our answer to the war in Syria

the words by Andrea Riccardi at the press conference in the airport, welcoming the refugees that arrived this morning. WATCH PHOTO AND VIDEO
IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | CA | RU | HU
October 20 2016

One month after Assisi 2016, many meetings to answer to the "Thirst for Peace" of the world

Among the latest: Kenya, Uganda etc...
IT | EN | ES | DE | FR | PT | RU
October 19 2016

Out of war, beyond the sea: the way of hope. WATCH!

In the next few days other refugees from Syria will arrive to Italy through the humanitarian corridors. Here is a video with voices and stories of those who have fled from war and arrived to Italy with this project.
IT | EN | ES | DE | PT

September 6 2015
“Takimi i paqes”, krerët botërorë të feve mblidhen në Tiranë
November 11 2013
Herder Korrespondenz
Religion und Frieden: Internationales Treffen der Gemeinschaft von Sant'Egidio
October 29 2013
Roma sette
Preghiera e condivisione fondamenta della pace
October 13 2013
Insieme scegliamo il coraggio della pace
October 6 2013
«Non usare la fede per la violenza». Un bilancio del XXVII Incontro internazionale per la pace
all press-related