Inspiring women share stories of empowerment

Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Zesley Pah Zesley Pah (click to expand)

The Power of Women and Girls was the topic for the second UnitingWorld lunch for members of the 13th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Lisa Meo is a Fijian Australian who advocates for women in theological education at various schools and churches in the Pacific Islands. She spoke about the inconsistencies between the rights of males and females across the world, saying that the majority of women globally are largely uneducated, bear children too young and are unaware of their importance in society.

"Our task is to encourage and support them (women) to go further — from the kitchen to the pulpit!" Ms Meo said.

Speaking next was Zesly Pah from West Timor. Ms Pah is Director of Finance for Tanaoba Lais Mane Kat (TLM), which means "serving with love".

TLM is the largest microfinance service provider in Eastern Indonesia. It focuses mostly on supporting women and rural communities.

Ms Pah explained that culturally, when a woman has money, she usually spends it on her family. For men however, money's status symbol means they often spend it on items which are not beneficial to the family such as cigarettes.

She then told guests inspiring stories of women who had built a better future for themselves and their families by taking advantage of TLM's microfinancing opportunities.
Prof. Kirsteen Kim, Professor of Theology and World Christianity at Leeds Trinity University College, UK reflected on how in the Western world "feminism" could be a dirty word.

Prof. Kim explained that it wasn't until she lived in other countries that she saw how important feminism was around the world.

"Even if we don't feel it, it is still a problem for our sisters and we need to support them," said Prof. Kim who will also deliver the Cato lecture at Assembly on Wednesday night.

You can read more about TLM microfinancing here.