Tapestry, Ecumenical Centre, Geneva

Photo: Albin Hillert/WCC

This year marks the 75th anniversary of both the World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This year is also the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the WCCs Women in Church and Society programme, the precursor of todays Just Community of Women and Men.

Despite the many and varied interventions each year to end sexual and gender-based violence, inequalities persist, necessitating continued recognition of the 16 days and the root causes of gender inequality and violence. 

Working with member churches and ecumenical partners, the WCC will highlight ecumenical action and advocacy together for gender justice during this years 16 days.

Events include:

25 November, 13:00 CET: Trailblazers of our Times: Resilience and Elimination of Gender-Based Violence,” a webinar in collaboration with National Council of Churches of India. 

Speakers and participants will highlight stories of intervention achieved by faith actors from across continents through the global #Thursdays in Black Campaign. Via a panel discussion combined with a small group format, the webinar will offer an opportunity to share personal stories and community-based approaches innovative programs, successful interventions, and p policy perspectives, including legal frameworks. 

The webinar will end with a call to action.

Register here to join this event live. 

30 November: Launch of the publication Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance - Sharing the Stories.” This specially designed book is a testimony to the stories behind the Waterfall of Solidarity and Resistance” tapestry which was on display at the WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe. The book will bring to life the women and children who shared pain, grief, hope, and resilience as they stitched panels for the tapestry. 

4 December, 14:30 CET: Webinar on Decolonizing Beauty: Mission, Gender, Racism, and Health in the Skin-Whitening Pandemic.” A conversation, offered via a panel discussion, will explore the roots of pressuring women from racialized communities to meet the standards of beauty defined by whiteness and white supremacism, and the effects of such pressure to their health, in church and society. 

Questions guiding the discussion will include: What is skin whitening, who uses it and why? In what ways is skin whitening racist, sexist, and a health concern? How have Christian teachings contributed to the desire for skin whitening?

Participants will come away with a new understanding of what drives the global appetite for skin whitening chemicals; and will propose how churches can address skin whitening among community members. 

Register here to join this event live.

8 December: Weaponizing Women in War.” Offered as a hybrid event, participants and speakers will discuss the direct impact of war on women and children. Topics will include the old concept of comfort women,” where women are forced to entertain soldiers against their will; and incidences where, as a sign of victory, the victors indiscriminately rape women from the defeated communities.

Discussions will also cover using women for reconnaissance activities, and using women and children as human shields, or for leverage for food.

The webinar will bring together experts from racial justice, gender justice, health and healing, sociological anthropology/political science backgrounds as well as from faith-based settings. 

During the 16 days there are other major international observances which all include a gender component, including International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare, World AIDS Day, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, and World Soil Day.