4. Sep 08 - 7. Sep 08

Women as Peacemakers Through Religion

Diocese of Gothenburg, Sweden


At the first meeting in Teheran, November 2007.

Although both the Bible and the Qur'an affirm that men and women are of equal worth and have complementary and essential contributions to make within the life of the whole community, there is no doubt that women throughout history have been relegated to a subordinate category in their religious community and in society at large. The leading role in priesthood in Christianity or religious authority in the Islamic traditions has mainly been reserved for men. Policy-making and scholarship have only exceptionally been a platform for women.


In society, the 20th century was one of accelerating change for women. Profound questioning of the traditional subordinate role of women led to a struggle for full rights as citizens, for equal opportunities in employment and for a fuller partnership with men in all aspects of family and community affairs.


A major concern in the world today is the absence of true peace whether on a global level, in society and in the community of women and men. Creating sustainable peace in all its dimensions and in all places is achieved best by an approach, where women and men in different parts of society and community cooperate as equal partners. Of the many groups of society currently excluded from different kinds of peace processes, none is larger—or more critical to success—than women. Women give life to a new generation. In some ways, women take a more prominent role than men do for the sustainability of the family, the religious community and society.


Christian and Muslim women are contributing in many ways, both separately and also together in groups throughout the world, to address ills in their respective communities, whether in relation to women or to society in general. Dialogue between Christian and Muslim women is an established reality.  However, the next step in this dialogue must be to work together as Christian and Muslim women, in critical solidarity with tradition but strongly committed to establishing signs of peace in its different manifestations.


The organizers are concerned with the constructive role of religion in our societies and would like to invite women to wrestle on issues pertinent to a just society of women and men. In interpreting religion the role of women and the treatment of women in the world of religion and society needs to be considered. Do religious leaders provide space for the promotion and progress of women? Based on information gleaned at the conferences, creative material will be produced such as a book, a CD, a DVD, a web-site, etc, that women and men can use as an effective tool in society. The aim of this three-year project is to mark the role of women on specific issues, important for a society of women and men in building a more peaceful world.


The topic "The Role of Women: Moving towards peace through religion - Christian and Muslim women in dialogue" has been conceived to be as broad as possible so that women participants in this three-year project can choose issues, which they would judge to be particularly important for the construction of peace. The intention is to invite and engage Christian and Muslim women from different professions and walks of society: teachers, clergy, activists, academics, women involved in various NGOs, film-makers, poets and authors.