March 8: International Women's Day

on 07 Mar, 2023
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Madrid (Spain), 03/07/2023, Sr. Marta Elena Vélez, JPIC Delegate Spain- “BROKEN DREAMS” are the traces that the system of violence in which we live at a global and local level is leaving in each person that makes up humanity. Each one of us, with our own peculiarities, is part of this humanity that seemed to have "learned from so many wars and failures and was slowly moving towards different forms of integration. However, history shows signs of turning back” (Fratelli Tutti 10,11).

On these days, we will surely find a variety of articles and reflections on empowered women, and my desire is to reach you, sharing a situation from the reality of Spain that has perplexed and shocked me a lot. The increase of number of women murdered by gender violence in December has led to an increase in protection measures, and so far this year there are already 10 women murdered at the hands of their partners; in 2022 there are a total of 48. About 31,161 women are in the GBV (Gender-Based violence); among these, 17 women are at extreme risk and 706 are at high risk with enhanced protection measures.

The question that should be asked is what are we doing to make this situation repeatable and not only in Spain. What are we doing right and what are we doing wrong? There have been many mobilizations and rallies to condemn and denounce the murders. Along with the cry of the poor and the cry of the earth, there is the cry of women with slogans such as: "Enough of patriarchal violence," "We want us alive," "Not one less," "No more murdered women," "They are not madmen, they are murderers". These women need housing, employment, security guarantees and the possibility of staying in their environment; that is why the whole society has to be involved, because it is fair to claim the institutions to dedicate resources to alleviate this loudly situation.

Inequality gaps have become the greatest global threat and challenge. Another question we need to answer is what to do in the face of this inequality?  I believe that we must fight for dignity by promoting a world where women and men are worth the same and no one is left behind. But, the fight against inequality is only possible from the conviction that the future of inequality depends on each one of us.

Our mission then consists in being, walking, listening where women's lives cry out, welcoming their reality, involving ourselves in projects that dignify and liberate them, and even more, taking the risk of boldly denouncing all injustice against life, as Marie Poussepin said. We can see Jesus in so many encounters with women… what did he do? He approaches and loves, and it is from this love that his gestures become freedom, healing and respecting women’s dignity.

Women have the capacity to give life, to listen, wait, welcome, receive, and reclaim their place in society. Here is where we are now, building a better world where we all have the opportunity to realize our charism, to unfold it and share it. We are becoming more and more aware of it, but we need to have our participation recognized in all fields; it is not an easy task, we need to join efforts, let us not forget that there are remarkable changes but there are still frontiers and not few of them.

The vulnerability of women must be looked at with very human eyes, because there are great capacities in them. Pope Francis says: "Women have to look for their specific place, which is not merely functional", the role of women is not limited to a function, it goes beyond that. Life is held through the tireless woman, looking for work, cleaning houses, taking care of children and also through the unrecognized jobs with insufficient income to take care of family life. They strive to be treated as people, they organize and mobilize to claim their rights and have access to a better life.

And, how not to express a few words about this time of Synodality. The Church has a woman's face, you just look at your parish, the different groups and their dedication; it is necessary to make visible the intense work of women within the Church; but this supposes their integration and participation in the spaces of discernment and decision making.

It is really exciting the call to the Synod because it involves all the people of GOD, and it is possible to recover all the richness accumulated and hidden by this lack of participation. We must make efforts to change our mentality and eliminate this sense of uniformity because in synodality we need to go together but also with a sense of humility and understanding. This is a great challenge for all women, in order to legitimize participation, we cannot stop working and fighting for the justice of gender.

Living Church, 289- 2022; pg 19.
Religious Life, 10, 2022.
Constitutions,  IP pg 18.