Revised Vatican norms to cover sex abuse and attempted women's ordination

Publication Date: 
July 9, 2010
Catholic News Service
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican is preparing to update the 2001 norms that deal with priestly sex abuse of minors, in effect codifying practices that have been in place for several years.

At the same time, it will include the "attempted ordination of women" among the list of most serious crimes against church law, or "delicta graviora," sources said.

The Quest for an "Islamic State" as a Response to the Secular State

Publication Date: 
June, 2003

This article examines a particular variety of Islamic responses to the advent of the secular state in Asia. The secular state arose historically in Europe through the separation of church and state from the seventeenth century onwards. The notion of political secularism was brought to Asia (and elsewhere) through the experience of European colonialism. The post-colonial secular states of Asia are thus derived from experiences of European colonialism, even when such experiences did not result in total colonisation (for example, in China, Korea, Japan and Thailand). Although the secular politics of the new nation-states in the Asian region has been anti-colonial and nationalist in content, the secularism of politics nevertheless comes not from indigenous sources, but from historical origins in Europe, regardless of whether such secularism is democratic, fascist or communist.

UN Women Born: Civil Society Celebrates Creation of Gender Equality Entity After Four Years of Advocacy

Publication Date: 
June 30, 2010
GEAR Campaign

UN Women Born: Civil Society Celebrates Creation of Gender Equality Entity After Four Years of Campaigning

The Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign celebrates the United Nations General Assembly resolution, agreed to on 30 June and to be formally adopted by the General Assembly on Friday, 2 July, to establish “UN Women”—the new gender equality entity at the UN.   This move has been sought by women’s organizations and other civil society organizations around the world since the UN established a System-Wide Coherence Panel for UN Reform in 2006. Charlotte Bunch of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at Rutgers University, a founding member of the GEAR Campaign, stated, “We have high expectations for this new agency to be a solid foundation for advancing the human rights of women as central to global policy efforts to reduce poverty and move toward greater realization of peace and democracy in the world.   The coalition of women’s groups and other social justice, human rights and development organizations that played a pivotal role in this effort will now turn its efforts toward ensuring that the new body has the human and financial resources necessary to succeed.”

Freedom Leads to Empowerment: Promoting Women's Leadership and Financial Independence

Publication Date: 
January 1, 2010
International Museum of Women (IMOW)
Mahnaz Afkhami

Women's empowerment is a process. It involves raising consciousness, building skills and reforming unjust laws that limit women's education, participation in decision making and economic independence. I.M.O.W. Global Council member Mahnaz Afkhami is president of , which strives to empower women by practicing and promoting their leadership and self-sufficiency.

Islam and Feminism: Interpretations for Gender Justice

Publication Date: 
May 11, 2010
Contestations / Dialogues on Women's Empowerment
Photo Credit: Tom Hartwell

Islam and feminism have had a troubled relationship. Over the last two decades, scholars and activists have questioned the western credentials of feminism and claimed justice as a purpose and possibility that can be captured via religious routes. Religion provides women with an ethical framework and a moral foundation that recognizes their rights as individuals and as a collective, albeit redefining equality in the process. The mosque movement in Egypt has empowered women to find dignity, companionship and comfort through piety and conformity to a religious ideal and challenge the less-than-perfect world around them. Moreover by engaging with religion, Muslim women are able to redefine the tenets that have endowed Islam with an unnecessary bias for men; one which feminist scholars of Islam are certain is antithetical to the spirit and philosophy of our religion.

The Global Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls

Publication Date: 
March, 2010
Global Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls

is an online resource in English, French and Spanish, designed to serve the needs of policymakers, programme implementers and other practitioners dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls. The Centre is an initiative of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), bringing together the valuable contributions of expert organizations and individuals, governments, United Nations sister agencies, and a wide range of relevant actors. Part of the overall effort is encouraging shared ownership of the site and ongoing partnership-building for its continuous development and sustainability.

Women's Right to Have Rights - Resisting Fundamentalist Orders

Publication Date: 
May 14, 2010
Association for Women in Development (AWID)
Credit: AWARE

While fundamentalist movements may vary according to the global context in which they operate, for women this diversity is outweighed by the core characteristics, strategies and impacts that they share.

In a on April 16, 2010, a senior Iranian cleric, Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi, declared a need for a “general repentance,” warning of the “prevalence of degeneracy” in the country. He pointed to the real consequences of immodesty and promiscuity among women, noting that “many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes.”

Sediqi’s comments follow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s forecast that Tehran will be the site of an imminent and devastating quake. In the last ten years, earthquakes in Iran have claimed tens of thousands of lives, and the country rests upon some of the most earthquake-prone land in the world. “What can we do to avoid being buried under the rubble?” Sediqi asked. “There is no other solution but to take refuge in religion and to adapt our lives to Islam's moral codes.”

The Bride Price: Consequences of Child Marriage Worldwide (Short Documentary)

Publication Date: 
March, 2008

The Bride Price: Consequences of Child Marriage Worldwide is a video containing moving images by Stephanie Sinclair - recipient of the 2007 UNICEF Photo of the Year - on the many issues of child marriage. Sinclair's photos include compelling images of child brides in Afghanistan, Ethiopia and India. Sinclair's previous work on child marriage includes a photo essay of Afghani child brides published in The New York Times.

Mobilizing Religious Communities to Respond to Gender-Based Violence and HIV: A Training Manual

Publication Date: 
October, 2009

Training Religious Leaders and Women of Faith on GBV and HIV

Women of faith have called attention to gender-based violence in their communities, citing a need for religious leaders to raise awareness of the issue and address it. Religious leaders and women of faith are well positioned to identify, validate, and promote best practices on preventing and reducing GBV as it relates to HIV.

Under the USAID | Health Policy Initiative Task Order 1, Futures Group and Religions for Peace initiated a multi-religious activity to prevent and reduce GBV and HIV for women and girls and other vulnerable groups.

This activity included the following objectives:

  • Strengthen the capacity of religious communities and networks to respond to GBV as it relates to HIV;
  • Equip religious communities with tools to deepen their awareness and understanding of GBV;
  • Enhance faith-based activities regarding GBV.