Click on the Link to Download IWD Newsletter IWD-2017NCCI Resource Material2
As the world commemorates International Women’s Day on 8th March 2017, the National Council of Churches invites churches, church leaders, Christian organizations , and church run institutions to create and promote “women and family friendly” work places. India is the fourth dangerous country in the world for women to live in. India women face challenges and discrimination also in work place
The UN theme for IWD 2017 focuses on “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030”. IWD provides us the opportunity to rethink, deliberate, discuss, implement policies, educate colleagues, communities, congregations and engage in spiritual formation for gender justice to create women and family friendly workplace.
The world of work is changing with significant implications for women. On one hand, we have globalization, technological and digital revolution and the opportunities they bring, and on the other hand, the growing informality of labour, unstable livelihoods and incomes, new fiscal and trade policies and environmental impacts—all of which must be addressed in the context of women’s economic empowerment.
Statistics reveal that while women in much of the world are joining the work force, Indian women are rapidly leaving it. The participation of Indian women in the workforce fell 10 percent in the past decade as India recorded the lowest female labour force participation rate. There are certain primary reasons for low participation of women in the labour force such as lack of access to higher education among women; dearth of opportunities to work. Even lack of flexibility in working conditions tends to dissuade women from joining the labour force as they turn to their domestic duties. Nuradha Chatterji, Manager at the Human Rights Organization CREA, also points to lax enforcement of workplace sexual harassment policies as one of the primary reasons for women to leave. There is an urgent need to create more jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities to promote women empowerment thereby making them economically independent. International Women’s Day also gives us scope to interrogate and deliberate how women and family friendly is our work place and church / church owned institutions and organizations as an employer. In the Indian context the duty of prophetic churches is not only to promote ‘Discipleship of Equals,’ but with the coming of women to workforce, the management needs to re-look its work policies and introduce new programs and changes that benefit both female and male. There is need to promote work ethics and culture that bring in a balance between work and family for both men and women. Sexual Harassment, Proper Complaint Redressal Policies and Mechanisms, Maternity Leave policies (both for contractual and permanent staff) should be mandatory.
Women, men, children and families suffer in a ‘workaholic culture trap’ demanded from church ecumenical leaders and missionaries in the Indian context. Such culture not only leads to burn outs but also has impact on the health of employees, increases stress in family, and leads to family and relationship breakdowns. Women struggle to prove their efficiency in comparison with their male colleagues in the work place in this ‘workaholic culture’ Though gender justice policies are important alone, they cannot bring about change to build just inclusive workplace. There is need for change of mindset, work ethics, and work environment. Such can be achieved through also promoting, creating awareness and educating people about spirituality of gender justice.
NCCI invites Churches and Church leaders on IWD to engage in advocacy to promote the Jesus Model of Leadership to create inclusive work ethics and workplace. Jesus promoted an inclusive spirituality. He broke the silence on violence of women. He was not judgmental about women or their spirituality. He understood the challenges women face and yet he involved women in ministry providing them space and flexibility. Through his action he uplifted women’s rights to life and dignity. Jesus empowered people.
# Be Bold for Change is 2017 IWD Campaign. NCCI encourages churches to be bold and empower people to create inclusive just workplace.