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Honoring Women on International Women’s Day March 9th, 2017

By Bayor Chantal Ngoltoingar
OMI JPIC 2016-17 Volunteer

International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. Different regions of the world mark the day in various ways but the general focus of celebrations is to show women respect, appreciation and love for their economic, political and social achievements.

     The former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon stressed that “violence against women and girls is a violation of human rights, a public health pandemic and a major obstacle to sustainable development. It imposes exorbitant costs upon families, communities and economies. The world can’t afford to pay this price. The cost of violence would represent 5.2% of the world economy.”

     Women occupy a special place in the heart of Pope Francis. In a 2016 Twitter post he noted, “So many women are overwhelmed with the burdens of life and the drama of violence! The Lord wants them to be free and their dignity respected.” The pope has also condemned “the serious practice of female genital mutilation in some cultures, but also the inequality of access to dignified workplaces and the places where decisions are made.” The Pope denounces both “abuses in the family circle” but also “the various forms of slavery, which do not constitute a demonstration of masculine force but a cowardly degradation.” On the essential role of women in society and in the church he declared: “Woman is the most beautiful thing God has created.”

         Pope Francis has repeatedly stressed the “special abilities” of women and the way they look at the world. “They convey to us the ability to see beyond,” the Holy Father said, “to understand the world with different eyes, to hear, to see things with a more creative, patient, tender heart seeking to build a more humane and welcoming society.” The Pope also invites us to pray that “in all countries of the world women are honored and respected, and that their irreplaceable social contribution be valued.”

         In the book of Genesis 2:18, we read, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help mate. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

         God therefore created woman for man so that they may love one another, and become one flesh, and to grow, multiply and fill the land with children.

     To create the first humans, He made them himself. To procreate God in his love and his sovereignty entrusted the unique role of child bearing to the woman.

      In Genesis 3, we see, sin entering the heart of woman and into the heart of man. Because of this, both have fallen into sin and into death. But the Lord is powerful in his ability to restore that which has been destroyed. The plan of salvation came through the Lord Jesus Christ who was born of a woman, a virgin, and born by the power of the Holy Spirit in the body of a woman. He was formed in the body of Mary in a supernatural way by the Holy Spirit, so that the posterity of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. It was the woman Eve, who brought sin into the world, and it was through the woman, Mary, that the world received salvation through her Son the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bayor comes from Chad, Central Africa and is working on her Masters in social work at the Catholic University of America. She recently published a book about the practice of Female Genital Mutilation in Africa called ” L’obscurite sous le Soleil” translated as “Darkness under the sun.” The book is currently being translated into English.

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