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International Women’s Day: Pope Francis’ Praise for Women

The Pope signs a text for history in the preface to the book ‘More women’s leadership for a better world: care as the engine of our common home’, which has just seen the light of day. It is a programmatic text

The text on women appeared, according to the Vatican News agency, in the book More women’s leadership for a better world: care as the engine of our common home and is the result of research promoted by the Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice Foundation and the Alianza Strategia delle Università Cattoliche di Ricerca (Sacru).

It was edited by Anna Maria Tarantola and published by Vita e Pensiero. The authors are 15 academics from various disciplines, from 11 universities and 8 countries.

Woman brings harmony

In the prologue, the Pope states:

“Issues related to the world of women are of particular interest to me. In many of my speeches I have referred to them, pointing out how much still remains to be done for the full recognition of women [ed. no.: bold type is from Aleteia].

Furthermore, I have stated that man and woman “are not equal, they are not one superior to the other: no. Only the man does not bring harmony: it is she.

It is she who brings that harmony that teaches us to caress, to love tenderly and that makes the world a beautiful thing’. (Homily at Santa Marta, 9 February 2017).

The book, as the Supreme Pontiff writes, “deals with women, their talents, abilities and skills, and the inequalities, violence and prejudices that still characterise the world of women”.

In his text, Francis emphasises how important the contribution of women is to achieving harmony in society:

“We desperately need harmony to fight injustice, blind greed that harms people and the environment, unjust and unacceptable war.”

“The research,” notes the Pope, “reveals the difficulties that women continue to have in gaining access to the highest positions in the world of work and, at the same time, the advantages associated with their greater presence and recognition in the spheres of the economy, politics and society itself. ”

As far as the Church is concerned, Francis recalls those words he himself spoke in the closing address of the Synod of Bishops of the Panamanian Region, in October 2019:

“We have not yet realised what women mean in the Church and so we are left with only the functional part […]. But the role of women in the Church goes far beyond functionality. And that is what you have to keep working on. Far beyond.”

Women, equality in diversity

“A better, fairer, more inclusive and fully sustainable world cannot be achieved,” says the Pope, “without the contribution of women.

So we must work, all together, to offer equal opportunities to men and women, in all contexts, to achieve a stable and lasting situation of equality in diversity, because the path of women’s affirmation is recent, problematic and, unfortunately, not definitive.

You can easily turn back’.

She goes on to emphasise the female condition, which leads women to actively want and seek peace:

“Women’s thinking is different from men’s, they are more environmentally conscious, their gaze is not on the past but on the future.

Women know that they give birth in pain to achieve a great joy: to give life and open vast new horizons’.

“That is why women want peace, always.

Women know how to express both strength and tenderness, they are good, they are competent, they are prepared, they know how to inspire new generations (not only their children) .

It is right that they should be able to apply these skills in all spheres, not just in the family, and that they should receive the same remuneration as men for equal roles, commitment and responsibility. The differences that still exist are a grave injustice’.

Violence against women: “I have condemned this phenomenon on many occasions”

The Pope explains: “These differences, together with prejudice towards women, are at the root of violence against them .

I have condemned this phenomenon on many occasions. On 22 September 2021 I stated that violence against women is an open wound resulting from a culture of patriarchal and macho oppression.

We must find the cure to cure this scourge, not leave women alone”.

The Pope praised the work of the academics who authored the book:

“The conclusions reached aim to heal the scourge of inequality and, consequently, violence.”

Francis insists that women are essential for the betterment of the world:

“I like to think that if women could enjoy equal opportunities, they could contribute substantially to the change needed for a world of peace, inclusion, solidarity and global sustainability.”

“As I said on International Women’s Day, 8 March 2019, women make the world more beautiful, protect it and keep it alive.

They bring the grace of renewal, the embrace of inclusion and the courage to give of themselves.

Peace, then, is born of women, rises and is revived with the tenderness of mothers. Thus, the dream of peace becomes reality when we look to women. ”

“I believe that, as research shows, equality must be achieved in diversity.

Equality, not because women engage in masculine behaviour, but because the doors of the playing field are open to all players, without differences in gender (or colour, religion or culture).

This is what economists call efficient diversity.

The ability to care is a feminine trait

“It is nice to think of a world where everyone lives in harmony and everyone can see their talents recognised and contribute to a better world.

The ability to care, for example, is undoubtedly a feminine trait that must be expressed not only within the family, but equally and successfully in politics, business, academia and work.”

Man and woman in child-rearing

“The capacity to care must be expressed by all of us, men and women.

Men too can cultivate this capacity in raising children: how beautiful is the family in which both parents, mother and father together, take care of their children, help them to grow up healthy and educate them in respect for people and things, in goodness, mercy and protection of creation.”

Women, education is fundamental

“I also like the mention of the importance of education.

Education is the main way, on the one hand, to provide women with the skills and knowledge they need to face the new challenges of the world of work and, on the other hand, to facilitate change in the patriarchal culture that still prevails.

Unfortunately, even today, some 130 million girls in the world do not go to school.

There is no freedom, justice, integral development, democracy or peace without education’.

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