Strengthen women's influence

The Vatican has called for greater participation of women in social decision-making processes.
This is not just a matter of equality, but also of the specific perspectives women can contribute, Vatican representative Archbishop Celestino Migliore told the UN General Assembly in New York.

"This 'feminine genius' will prove highly valuable as women increasingly play a role in solving the serious problems facing the world," Migliore said, according to the text of the speech released Friday by the Vatican.Empowerment of women also means equal pay for equal work, fairness in promotion opportunities and equal rights for married couples. At the same time, women who choose to be housewives and mothers must be respected, said the Vatican representative. Microcredit programs for women's empowerment Studies have shown that micro-credit programs contribute to far-reaching improvements in the status of women in poor regions, the archbishop added. As a result, women gained more recognition, provided health and education for their families, and played a leading role in reducing poverty. However, the so-called microfinance system is not a panacea and is not free of abuse, the Vatican representative acknowledged.Migliore stressed that the demand for equality must go hand in hand with the recognition of differences between the sexes. There is a tendency to blur differences between men and women or to consider them as mere historical or cultural conditionalities, he said. Empowerment of women can only occur if differences are recognized and the cultural aspect of gender roles is seen in the right context, the archbishop said.

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