Original information available in Evangelischen Frauen Schweiz (EFS)
The Protestant Women in Switzerland (EFS-FPS) join the women’s strike. They put forward the following seven theses on gender equality in the Reformed Church, with the explicit support of the Women’s Conference Committee of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (SEK-FEPS).
- Volunteer work: EFS ask to make unpaid transparent in church annual reports and accounts and that all parishes hand in the guideline Certificate of Work to Volunteers, pay their fees and provide them with the necessary insurance coverage.
Most of the volunteer work in parishes is done by women. A great part is done behind the scenes and is only noticed when these tasks are no longer performed.
- Social security: EFS call for all church communities to ensure that women with several small pensums are connected to pension funds.
Many women work with small workloads in as catechists, social deaconesses, sacristans etc. In order to be able to provide these women with a second pillar for old age, the employers have to assume their responsibilities.
- Family-friendliness: The EFS wish the church authorities to be aware of the tension between claims of church members and family responsibilities, which enables employees to live an egalitarian distribution of roles alongside church employment. In many parishes, there is still the claim that the church staff must be available at all times. That is difficult to reconcile with family responsibilities.
- Church bodies: The EFS call for half-and-half parity not only in the political committees but also in the church committees, especially in the leadingpositions.
For ecclesiastical democracy to work, church members in all church bodies must be represented in proportion to their share. In the executives of the cantonal churches, more than 60% are men, only three out of twenty-six member churches of the SEK-FEPS have a woman president and in the FSPC parliamentary Assembly only 23 % of the delegates are women.
- Role Models: The EFS want a church in which all people can take a function, regardless of their gender and without being shocking anyone. A church, in which biblical stories are recounted with a sensitivity considering the historical context of their origin – without cementing stereotypes.
- In the Reformed Church, the traditional models are still deeply anchored On the one hand, it concerns the roles of women and men in the Church. On the other hand, it concerns the theological role models, which are conveyed in worship as well as teaching.
- Spirituality: The EFS wish for a church that takes into account the diversity of experiences with the divine power in which this diversity is transmitted through the language. The Reformed Church lacks feminine ways of expressing spiritual experiences. In the Church, God is usually still personalized and considered a man.
- Peacebuilding: The EFS call on the Church to engage itself more visibly in its politic of peace, to foster dialogue-promoting measures in conflicts and to insist that women be involved in peace negotiations. Millions of women worldwide are affected by war and violence. Many of them have no choice but to flee. Women are often exposed to acts of war.
The EFS express Solidarity with Catholic women and their call for the opening of all ecclesial offices for women.