2015-05-22 15:12:00

International conference highlights women’s contribution to sustainable development

(Vatican Radio)  An international conference entitled “Women and the post-2015 development agenda – The Challenges of Sustainable Development Goals” got underway in Rome Friday.  The May 22-24 event is jointly sponsored by the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations and the World Women’s Alliance for Life and Family.

President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson said 2015 is a crucial year for the international community concerning development issues and said the new Sustainable Development Goals to be approved in September have many important implications for women and their role in society.

Following on the heels of the U.N. Millennium Development goals which expire this year, the international community has proposed 17 new goals to achieve for sustainable development within the next fifteen years. One of the goals aims at achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls. 

But conference organizer Flaminia Giovanelli, Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, says women have much to contribute to the achievement of every goal on the list.

Listen to the interview with Flaminia Giovanelli:

Some of those targets include ending poverty and hunger and achieving food security, ensuring healthy lives and equitable quality education, ensuring sustainable water management and sanitation, promoting inclusive economic growth and fostering innovation, making cities and towns safe and sustainable and taking action to protect the environment.

“Looking a these goals we noticed that the role of women is very important for every one of these goals,” Giovanelli stresses.  “Particularly because the contribution of the woman is essential…to achieve the goals, every one of them.”

But a sustainable society is also needed for women’s development, says Giovanelli.  “So, creating a sustainable society, in my mind, is to create, to help to build a new culture.  The goals are there; we want to achieve them but they are [just] numbers.  And we can also [make] laws and the juridical [framework which are] very important, but what is needed – and of course, we need time – is a cultural change.” 

Men need to be part of this cultural change but, she adds, also women themselves.  “Because they must adjust – they have to find their own identity and also in relation with men so we must find a kind of equilibrium that would be a bit different from what we have had.”

More than 100 delegates from across the world are taking part in the three day conference to discuss issues pertaining to women including modernity, the so-called gender theory, surrogate motherhood, education, inter-religious dialogue, old and new forms of slavery, poverty, violence and femicide.

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