July 18-21, 2010
The 19th Pre Women’s Meeting of WSCF AP was held from July 18-21, at the Yuta Hotel, Manado, Indonesia, prior to the 19th WSCF AP Regional Committee Meeting (RCM).
There were 15 young women delegates of the RCM representing the national SCMs of Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand attended the meeting. The pre women’s meeting was a space for the SCM women to get to know each other, share their activities in SCMs on women’s concerns, identify the challenges in the leadership roles within SCMs in order to promote women leadership and women’s concerns for women’s emancipation.
The women delegates shared and analyzed the national women’s programmes and the various activities initiated by the women’s members in the national SCMs. The issues and challenges were identical especially in the sub regions, which helped the group relate and analyzes them from their own contexts. Some of the common challenges of SCM women are: patriarchy and hierarchy, gender stereotype, religion, culture, tradition which is biased against women, women as cheap labor, migration, trafficking—a global concern, as most of the women are forced to migrate due to the unjust economic system, system of discrimination/oppression paving the way to sex industry, domestic violence, sexual harassment, incest, drug addiction etc.
The analysis also helped the group draw conclusion on the over-all concern that the women’s programs/activities are declining in the national movements due to lack of staff who will carry out the women’s programmes. More concerns were shared as the national movements are not prioritizing women’s issue and concerns in the local SCMs and the lack of feminist theology perspectives among the SCMers. After the reflection and analysis, the group proposed the programmes for 2011-2012 that will initiate more women’s programmes in national level, such as women’s empowerment training, workshop on feminist theology, women’s programmes for both women and men on partnership, critical analysis of global concerns like migration, trafficking, marriage migration and gender, root causes of the Violence Against Women (VAW) and organize open discussion with like-minded organizations involved in awareness campaign on VAW through participation in forums.
The pre women’s meeting was also a place to develop theological reflections on the theme of the RCM from the feminist perspectives. Dr. Hope S. Antone, the Executive Secretary for Faith Mission and Unity (FMU), from Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) conducted bible studies based on the Biblical text Genesis chapter 1 by using Ecofeminism as a lens. Dr. Hope’s bible studies helped the delegates understand the concept of Ecofeminism with the involvement and participation of women’s movement across the globe to protect and take care of the mother earth and how women and nature are interconnected. She said that the link between women and nature is empowering, given their positions as mothers and homemakers, they are more likely to be more environmentally aware. She adds that the link between women and nature imposed by patriarchal culture is degrading, where men continue to exploit women and nature—seeing both as eternally fertile for providing life. The theological reflection helped the delegates to affirm that they are part of God’s creation and they must take the role of stewards to protect God’s creation instead of controlling and exploiting God’s creation.
At the end of the pre women’s meeting, the following were selected as the representatives for the Regional Women’s Committee for the year 2011-2012: Selfitriani Kula (SCM Indonesia) – South East Asia, Misato Sasaki (SCM Japan) – North East Asia, Bronwyn Crow (SCM Australia) – (ExCo) Pacific, Mani Mandol (SCM Bangladesh) – South Asia, Ga-yeon Lee (SCM Korea) – member at large, Sunita Suna – Regional Women’s Coordinator (ex officio).