Women engaging the Spirit

International Women's Day provides us with a unique opportunity to reflect on our faith-based commitment to justice, equality, and the intrinsic value of every individual created in the image and likeness of God. The 2024 IWD theme, ‘Count Her In: Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress,' resonates deeply with our Christian values, reminding us of the importance of inclusivity, empowerment, and solidarity with women around the world.

Jesus welcomed and valued women as equal partners in his ministry; after His Resurrection, according to the Gospels of Mark (16:9-10), and (John 20:11-18) it was a woman Mary Magdalene, who first witnessed the Resurrection and entrusted with spreading the Good News. We too are called to ensure that every woman's voice is heard, her experiences acknowledged, and her potential realised.

In our university setting, this is exemplified in the creation of an environment where all women feel supported, respected, and empowered to thrive. By providing women with equal opportunities for education, leadership, and economic empowerment, we honour each person’s God-given gifts and contribute to our society flourishing. Each one of us in upholding ACU’s mission are also called to advocate and influence in this way.

Taylor Swift and her recent tour of Australia is an example of the power of influence and serves as a poignant example of how individuals can use their platform to amplify marginalised voices and catalyse social change. Her impact on the Australian public reminds us of the importance of using our own spheres of influence to advocate for gender equality and support initiatives that uplift and empower women.

We come together at ACU this week to celebrate the achievements of women, challenge gender stereotypes, and redouble our efforts to create a more inclusive and equitable campus community. This may involve implementing policies that promote gender parity in leadership positions, providing mentorship and support to female students and colleagues, as well as advocating for resources or programs that address the unique needs and challenges women face.

Furthermore, as followers of Christ and in line with recent examples presented by Pope Francis, we are called to stand in solidarity with those who are marginalised and oppressed. This includes speaking out against gender-based violence, discrimination, and injustices that disproportionately affect women and girls. By actively engaging in efforts to address these systemic issues, we bear witness to the transformative power of love, compassion, and justice in advancing God's kingdom on earth.

As we embrace this year's IWD theme, we commit to counting women in, investing in their empowerment, and accelerating progress towards gender equality. We remain dedicated to the values of our faith and contributing to the realisation of God's vision for a world where all are valued, respected, and empowered to fulfill their God-given potential.

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