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Presentation of WUCWO’s World Women's Observatory

Presentation of WUCWO’s World Women’s Observatory (WWO) Tuesday, 14 June 2022 , Palazzo Altieri in Rome

On 14 June 2022, at 10.30 a.m., the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO/UMOFC) presented the World Women’s Observatory and its work in Latin America and Africa at Palazzo Altieri, in Rome. The conference was the occasion to present the first report, Impact of Covid-19 on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean, carried out by the WWO in partnership with the Pastoral Socio-Anthropological Observatory of CELAM’s Knowledge Management Centre. Mónica Santamarina de Robles, WUCWO Treasurer, explained how this first work has managed to collect examples of women’s strength and resilience that helped to face the crisis and has also highlighted the main proposals expressed by Latin American and Caribbean women. Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, stressed that: “The Church is born from the side of Christ, so that she, as a woman, also proceeds from the substance of Him and is always in Him as a feminine element”. And he added: “We must look in order to recognise. But we must also allow ourselves to be looked at, so that our own self may take on its true dimension. [...] All these views are in some way gathered in the gaze of Mary, who sees us with tenderness and compassion, for we have often been so uncaring, so treacherous. Mary transforms all this complaint into a call to conversion. A conversion of heart that we all need”. Msgr. Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, President of the Episcopal Conference of Latin America (CELAM), during his speech said that his presence “wants to be a testimony of CELAM’s commitment to [...] the call to grow together in humanity, in the following of Jesus and in relationships in which we mutually recognise our equal dignity and vocation to be and live as the image of God in today’s world”. Sr. Alessandra Smerilli, Secretary of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and delegate of the Vatican Covid-19 Commission, said: “If the economy were a woman, it would speak of care, for example: the ability to take care as an essential dimension of the human being, alongside work. […] We dream of a world in which, when we meet a person for the first time, we ask her ‘whom do you care for?’ and not just ‘what do you do?’”. Prof. Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, explained: “The presence of the feminine word in the State [...] contributes to the promotion of women within all social structures, so that [...] they come to be perceived as a peer, as equal in difference”. Monique Faye, WUCWO Vice President for Africa, commented: “The Women's Observatory will be a tool that will help to capitalise ways and means to support women victims and also to raise awareness [...] The Observatory will free many girls in Africa”. This initiative, organised by WUCWO in collaboration with CELAM, was sponsored by the Embassies to the Holy See of Argentina, Australia, Austria, Colombia, Haiti, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Some of the Ambassadors also shared their reflections on women and resilience in the different countries they represent: H.E. María Fernanda Silva, Ambassador of Argentina to the Holy See; H.E. Chiara Porro, Ambassador of Australia to the Holy See; and H.E. Jorge Mario Eastman, Ambassador of Colombia to the Holy See. The main goal of the World Women’s Observatory is to give visibility to women, especially the most vulnerable, who seem to be “invisible”, both in terms of their suffering and their potential, and in this way, to inspire and generate pastoral strategies, synergies between NGOs, renew public policies and contribute to the international agenda. All this to promote the integral human development of women and that of their families, communities and peoples.

Video on the work in Africa: The conference will be available on our YouTube channel: WUCWOUMOFC


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