Religions for Peace affirms all human beings are equal in dignity and rights and recognizes that women religious leaders are irreplaceable and co-equal partners in peacebuilding. Therefore, women of faith have been involved in Religions for Peace since its earliest beginnings at the first World Conference held in Kyoto Japan in 1970, when a women’s caucus was formed and recognised by Religions for Peace governing body.
In 2001, Religions for Peace launched the first ever Global Women of Faith Network. A network of networks, Religions for Peace Global Women of Faith Network brings together diverse women of faith to promote their leadership, coordinate strategies and pool resources and capabilities for cooperative action for peace. Led by the International Women’s Coordinating Committee, ten to fifteen women faith leaders, the Religions for Peace Global Women of Faith Network consists of more than 1000 religious women’s organizations at the national and regional levels in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa and North America.
Religions for Peace (RfP) recognises that women of faith have unique potential to advance peace, development and just societies globally. The RfP Global Women of Faith Network seeks to amplify the role of women of faith to advance the RfP mission of multi-religious cooperation for peace. Religions for Peace seeks to equip women of faith leaders to lead transformation of some of the world’s most urgent challenges– preventing conflict, overcoming gender based violence, ending poverty and securing a more peaceful future.
At the Religions for Peace 10th World Assembly in Lindau, Germany in August 2019, RfP convened eminent women of faith from diverse religious traditions from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and supported their collaborative effort to build solidarity and support for refugees around the world. Their experience and achievements were shared during a Special Session on MENA Women of Faith as Peacemakers.
The Global Women of Faith Network is led by the International Women’s Coordinating Committee (IWCC), comprised of ten to fifteen women faith leaders representing the world’s faith traditions from five continents. As strong faith leaders from various religious backgrounds, these women are elected to stand as representatives for their respective regions, standing as a voice for global women within Religions for Peace‘s overall structure. The present IWCC was elected at the Religions for Peace 10th World Assembly in Lindau, Germany in August of 2019.
AREAS OF WORK
Due to women’s unique role as peacemakers, the Women of Faith Network is valuable in transforming violent conflict. In Sierra Leone, Religions for Peace Women of Faith Network helped broker an end to the devastating civil war of the 1990s. A group of women bravely secured the release of child captives held by rebel forces, making peace talks possible.
OVERCOME GENDER BASED VIOLENCE
Religions for Peace recognizes that women are disproportionately affected by violence. The Restoring Dignity Campaign works to empower and mobilize people of faith to prevent violence against women around the world. Programs in Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the DRC, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States and more have raised awareness and addressed gender-based violence while contributing to this global campaign.
EMPOWER WOMEN THROUGH ENDNG POVERTY
Sustainable Development Goal 5 states that women’s empowerment is a pre-condition to ending poverty and inequality. Religions for Peace Women of Faith Network engages women and girls in projects to keep girls in school longer, deliver necessary health support to women, secure legal empowerment for women and more in order to support the SDGs and eliminate poverty.
ADVOCATE FOR DISARMAMENT
RfP advocates for the empowerment of women in the processes of disarmament and non proliferation. Through its women of faith networks, RfP provided training to women to help them maximize their leadership and advocacy potentials. Through concrete actions, women of faith trained in disarmament and non proliferation continued to take a more active role in local and national advocacy efforts to stem the circulation and misuse of small arms and light weapons and to promote awareness and education on the impact they have on women and girls.
Asia-Pacific Women of Faith Network
Asia-Pacific Women of Faith Network is a the regional network of multi-religious women’s leaders of Religions for Peace in Asia and the Pacific. Religions for Peace Asia-Pacific Women of Faith Network brings together the commitment of women’s leaders to advance common actions towards peace. This network functions on a permanent basis and is convened when deemed appropriate for Asian Conference of Religions for Peace women’s Forum and other programs designed to promote aims of Asian Conference of Religions for Peace among women.
Read about 1st Assembly on Women, Faith & Diplomacy: Keeping Faith and Transforming Tomorrow, 13-15 November 2020