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Presentation of the results of World Women’s Observatory

Jul 2, 2024 | In the News, Media, News Releases, WUCWO Updates

The World Women’s Observatory (WWO) of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) held an event on the 29th of May, 2024, at the Pio XI Hall of Palazzo San Calisto. Over 200 participants connected online, while more than 100 attendees gathered in person to witness the latest research and findings dedicated to amplifying women’s voices within the Catholic Church and broader society.

The event was presided over by Mónica Santamarina, President General of WUCWO, alongside Ana Martiarena, WWO Project Director, who presented key insights from recent projects.

These included the initial outcomes from “The WUCWO School for Synodality” and the influential “Conversations in the Spirit”, which engaged over 670 participants from 78 countries. Father Giacomo Costa, Special Secretary of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, also contributed to this segment, discussing the role and challenges of women in the Synodal Church.

A focal point of the gathering was the project addressing violence and discrimination against women in Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Reports highlighted the formation of networks in 22 African countries, supported by the Hilton Foundation, to combat domestic and economic violence and promote education access. During the event also was explained about the documentary “In-visibles” and the social campaign ‘#InvisiblesNoMore’, which aim to raise global awareness and drive change.

Sr. Maureen Adhiambo Ogunde from Nairobi shared her experiences as a community manager involved in the Africa project, while Cristiane Murray, Vice Director of the Holy See Press Office, emphasized the importance of a Catholic world observatory for women and explained her personal experience on the field.

Agustín Salvia, an international scientist and WWO consultant, discussed the scientific significance of the Observatory’s work and its potential long-term impacts.

Mónica Santamarina emphasized that the online “Conversations in the Spirit,” which involved nearly 800 women globally, were instrumental in shaping the ongoing dialogue on women’s roles within the Church. These conversations revealed a significant interest in exploring the diaconate for women and underscored the need for more formation opportunities. The “School for Synodality” was highlighted as a vital initiative to train women in discerning and participating in synodal processes.

Furthermore, these conversations have been essential in making the experiences of often unseen women visible, providing them with a platform to share their stories and advocate for their rights. This aligns with the Observatory’s mission to transform lives through listening and strategic action.

The event also featured the presentation of key findings from various reports by the WWO. Highlights include:

  • Synodality according to women co-responsible for the synodal process. Their contributions and challenges (2022-2023): in which 67% of women that participated responded “Yes” to the question of if their opinion was listened during the synodal process and 69% of women were involved in decision-making during this process.
  • WUCWO School for Synodality (2024): Initiated to train women in synodal methods, helping them discern and participate more effectively in Church processes. Part of the School were the “Conversations in the Spirit”, that engaged over 670 participants from 78 countries, revealing a strong interest in exploring women’s roles in the Church, particularly the diaconate.
  • Women’s discrimination and participation in Latin America and the Caribbean. A look into the future (2022-2023): This project pretended to assess the level of discrimination and participation in society and in the Church as perceived by women on this continent. One of the main results was that, from the people asked, 45.8% had felt discrimination in the Church, identifying clericalism as the main obstacle to a greater effective participation of women in decision-making.
  • Migrant women through Latin American and Caribbean correspondents (2023-2024).
  • Latin American migrant women and access to justice in Mexico (2023-2025)
  • Discrimination and violence against women in Africa. The Cry of African Women (2022-2023). Some of the main findings were that 66.8% of women experience structural violence.
  • Discrimination and violence against women in Africa. The African network to stop violence and discrimination against women (2023-2025)

As Mónica Santamarina stated, “The Observatory allows us to give voice and visibility to the most vulnerable women, raising awareness, building networks, and promoting strategies to transform lives at local, national, and international levels.” Ana Martiarena added, “The evidence and service provided by our results encourage us to continue deepening our engagement with women worldwide.”

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