All seven speeches from the House of Lords #IWD event are now available below. Introduced by Bishop Rachel, representatives spoke on global poverty, gender equality, and collaboration, and brought a challenge to the House of Lords ahead of networking and discussion time.
The event gave guests and parliamentarians a deeper insight into faith leaders’ commitment to secure a more gender inclusive world and aimed to inspire each person to engage actively with this issue.
The speeches, in full:
Muzoon Almellehan, an 18-year-old Syrian refugee spoke for the Malala Fund about the importance of prioritising girls’ education. She said: “While I was in the refugee camp in Jordan, I went from tent to tent to tell parents that [their daughters] needed teachers, not husbands.” She called on the UK government to increase support for education, especially for female refugees.
Loretta Minghella, Christian Aid’s Chief Executive said: “Two thirds of the world’s extreme poor are women and girls. Poverty has a woman’s face.”
Mandy Marshall of Restored asked each one of us to look at our own actions: “How is what I am doing affecting relationships? Am I giving all of who I am to empower and build others up or am I using the power that I have to diminish and dominate?”
Niki Gould from the Nelson Trust, a Gloucestershire-based organisation that supports disadvantaged women with complex, multiple
needs said: “As a consequence of women going into prison, over 17,000 children are separated from their mothers each year. Over 80% of these women have committed a non-violent offence. It costs £45,000 to keep a woman in prison, we are paid £550 to support women in the community.”
Terrie Robinson of Side by Side, a global movement of people of faith who want to see gender justice become a reality, said: “Faith leaders are a permanent part of every community. People still listen to faith leaders, so they are in a very strong position to be challenging cultural practices.”
Bishop Rachel said, “I hope that every person who attended our event was challenged to take action in ways that will help transform the lives of women around the world. For me as a follower of Jesus Christ, my motivation to do this is to see every woman flourish and become the person that God has created them to be.”
Christian Aid’s Chief Executive Loretta Minghella said: “Christian Aid was delighted to partner with Bishop Rachel and with Restored, as together we seek to mobilise the faith community to challenge and change the discriminatory beliefs that lie at the root of gender inequality. Our voices have the power to transform people’s experience of gender – especially for women and girls living in poverty – and to ensure they are shaped not by oppression, but by justice, dignity and hope.”
Mandy Marshall, Co-Director of Restored said, “30% of women worldwide experience violence from their partner. Faith based organisations have great reach and influence at both national and local level in millions of communities across the globe. With the right support, we believe they have the potential to challenge the injustice of gender inequality and hasten the end of violence against women.”