Women and Gender Staff Unit

    Mission 21 is part of an international movement for gender equity. Gender equity is achieved when every human being – irrespective of gender and sexual orientation – can lead a life free of discrimination and violence. The Women and Gender Staff Unit collaborates with the Responsible Programme Officers in Mission 21's International Relations Department to work towards a world where more gender equity prevails. It is our responsibility to guarantee that women's concerns and life situations are taken into account in the planning, design, development and implementation of programmes. We offer advice, raise awareness, evaluate, create information and work materials, and we network the members of our partner organisations who are committed to gender equity.

    Gender equity programme

    Mission 21 supports its partners' regional and continental networks for women in Africa, Asia and Latin America. These networks make it possible for women to become actively involved in society and to defend themselves against gender-based discrimination and violence. We support and strengthen women who hold leadership positions in society, politics and the church.

    In order to turn the vision of gender equity into a reality, the Women and Gender Staff Unit at Mission 21 focuses its work in three strategic directions: Empowerment, Advocacy and Gender Mainstreaming.

    ► Gender equity programme

    Empowerment

    Access to information and opportunities for individuals to pass their own knowledge on to others are key factors in the development of a society. Empowerment aims to develop know-how and leadership qualities on the basis of a holistic approach. Self-reflection and knowledge of relaxation techniques are also helpful to leaders in their sustained efforts to bring about more justice in the world. This is why self-care is a key element in this field. We encourage the exchange of experience and knowledge by organising training courses specifically geared to this goal, and through communication platforms such as the Women's Letter and the Women & Gender Blog. The Fund for the Advancement of Women also provides financial support so that our partner organisations' networks for women can continue to carry out their work effectively and sustainably.

    Advocacy

    Advocacy means speaking or acting in support of a particular cause. Together with members of our partner organisations, we endeavour to enable disadvantaged people to improve their living conditions. Influencing public opinion is an effective strategy for achieving this objective. Workshops geared to this goal, based on the "Training of Trainers" principle, enable key individuals from partner organisations to share their experiences, acquire the skills they need and develop their networks. They are given support with advocating human rights for women, and they become familiar with advocacy instruments such as CEDAW (the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and UN Resolution 1325. They can pass the knowledge they have acquired on to others in their society, organisation or church. In these ways, Mission 21 strengthens the advocacy work undertaken by women and men in our partner organisations at the local, national and international levels.

    ► Go to CEDAW

    ► Go to UN-Resolution 1325

    Gender Mainstreaming

    Gender Mainstreaming (GM) is a strategy that aims to eliminate the structural causes of gender-based inequality. At the fundamental level, GM takes systematic account of the differing life situations and interests of all people. Through measures to promote equality, GM enables women to benefit from access on the basis of equal rights to political and social decision-making processes, financial resources and services. We collaborate with the Responsible Programme Officers in Mission 21's International Relations Department to develop instruments and measures that will promote gender equity in the most effective and sustainable ways. In programme work, the goal of GM is to consider and include the concerns of women and men to an equal extent.

     

    Fund for the Advancement of Women

    The Fund for the Advancement of Women is part of our gender equity programme. For the women's network of our partner organisations, the Fund offers specific financial support targeted at selected projects. This enables them to continue their efforts to achieve gender equity on a sustained and effective basis.

    ► More information about the program for gender justice

    Women's Letter and Blog

    The Women's Letter, available to all interested readers, offers fascinating insights into the annual calendar of our women's network. The Women's Letter is the result of intercontinental cooperation. It carries reports on diverse experiences viewed from different perspectives, together with insights into the activities of our women's network. The Letter is published once each year in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Indonesian and German. ► Women's Letter 2019

    The Women & Gender Blog offers women from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe a platform where they can exchange ideas and experiences and engage in networking. The "Tools", "Portraits" and "Re-membering" sections of the blog also contain useful background information and guidance on issues such as Gender Mainstreaming and Self-Care, as well as reports about women who draw on their courage and extensive know-how to advocate gender equity.  ► Go to the Blog

     

    Activities

    International Women's Day

    International Women's Day on 8 March is an occasion for us to focus attention on violence against women and girls, and to join with other faith-based organisations in discussions about the current status of efforts to achieve gender equity. In 2019, the Women and Gender Staff Unit took part in a "future workshop" organised by the Feminist Theologians' Interest Group.

    ► Go to the Feminist Theologians' Interest Group (in German)

    Advocacy Training

    We organise workshops where key individuals from partner churches and organisations involved in our cooperation programmes can acquire skills for their advocacy work on the ground. Each year, the Women and Gender Staff Unit organises an advocacy workshop in Basel, based on the Training of Trainers (ToT) concept. The participants share about their experiences and the daily challenges posed by advocacy work, and they receive support so that they can act as multipliers in their local context to pass on the concepts, instruments and experiences that they have learned and acquired in the workshop.

    Mission 21 is also part of an ecumenical coalition of faith-based organisations which conducts an international training course on advocacy for women's human rights in Geneva. Participants gain insights into the UN's structures and instruments, with a particular focus on CEDAW (the UN Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) and shadow reports as important tools for advocacy work.

    16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence

    Every year, Mission 21 participates in the international "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence" campaign. Each year's campaign lasts from 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, until 10 December, Human Rights Day. These dates also clearly signal the core message of the campaign: violence against women constitutes a violation of human rights. 

    ► More about the "16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence" campaign

    Women's Pre-Synod and International Women's Conference

    Every year, the Women's Pre-Synod and the International Women's Conference take place in connection with the Mission Synod. At the Women's Pre-Synod, female delegates from Africa, Latin America and Asia discuss the gender-specific problems affecting the continents. These problems are summarised in a final message to the Synod which is then presented to the Synod. The International Women's Conference, which is open to a wider audience, is organised in the form of workshops or panel discussions. The focus here is always on current challenges facing the continents in the fight for gender equity. 

    ► More about the Mission Synod

    World Day of Prayer

    In more than 170 countries all over the world, the service for the World Day of Prayer is celebrated on the first Friday in March every year. The World Day of Prayer is a grass-roots ecumenical movement initiated by Christian women. Mission 21 will participate in the celebration for the next time on 6 March 2020 with a prayer by women from Zimbabwe. 

    ►More about the World Day of Prayer

    I walk with...

    One influential female figure from a partner organisation is chosen annually as a symbol of support for the Mission 21 women's network throughout the year. This is an effective way of drawing public attention to her efforts in the cause of gender equity. It also enables the network to demonstrate its solidarity with her and all those who advocate human rights for women on a daily basis, sometimes under extremely difficult conditions.

    The focus of " I walk with…" changes to a different continent each year: from summer 2017 to 2018, the spotlight was on the commitment shown by Suzan Mark of Nigeria. She provides support for survivors of the attacks by Boko Haram, the Islamist terrorist militia, and she carries out important trauma work. In 2018/2019, we are following Obertina Johanis of Indonesia. This pastor is the finance manager and advisor at Pasundan-Durebang, a centre for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence in Bandung. Obertina fights fiercely for the rights of the large numbers of young female guest workers who go to Hong Kong or Malaysia, where they are frequently abused and exploited. Many of them are severely traumatised when they return to Indonesia – if they survive at all.
    This year, "I walk with…" is moving on from Asia to Africa. After the 2019 International Women's Conference, the focus will be on Ebed Grijalva. Her struggle against gender-based murder (femicide) and the upsurge in fundamentalist thinking is worthy of our attention.

    ► Statement Obertina Johanis

    ► further information in German

    ► Action postcard