1. What was your first connection with Mission 21 or Basel Mission?
I grew up in Basel, very close to the mission house but did not come to this house for a long time. I knew about the Basel Mission and the diverse mission work through Ruth Epting, our diaconal worker in the congregation at the time, and through the Rossel family. I went in and out at Pilgerstrasse 35, the home of the of the president of the Basel Mission. Annemarie Rossel, was National President of the CVJF/YWCA of Switzerland for many years.
2. What have been your contributions to the empowerment of women?
I was a committed member of the CVJF/YWCA from an early age. There Women’s issues, women’s rights, women in the Bible, women’s language were important, so to me.
The commitment to dignity and equal rights for women – at all levels and in all societies – became my purpose in life. The worldwide dimension of the YWCA was formative. So I also started my first international outreach in Asmara/Eritrea, with this focus, followed by further outreaches with the YWCA. It was learning an living together.
After my return to Switzerland, I found a job with KEM (now Mission 21). During the 11 years I was also a member of the Women’s Commission, now called the “Women and Gender Commission”, which I later chaired for 5 years.
3. Why do you think the empowerment of women is important in the Faith Based Organizations?
Women/girls are half of the world’s population. They deserve the same esteem, the same social rights in terms of justice. This is a goal that has not yet been achieved politically, and it is incomprehensible why it is still lacking in FBOs.
4. What are the main challenges to overcome as an advocacy leader for women’s rights in a context of Faith Based Organization?
We are still on the way. It seems that we are moving forward too slowly, only with pilgrim steps (two steps forward, one back). The challenge is that this generation and the next do not lose sight of the goal and that there is always enough faith.
5. What are the main issues you would like to advocate (or you are already advocating for) in your community in order to achieve gender justice?
It is necessary to take action in all areas, no one can do it alone. Justice must be sought everywhere, and it must also be possible to fight for it.
Trust in more just gender structures must be promoted in schools, politics and the church. Trust must be able to grow, and for this an open climate is needed. Collaboration, networking, with like-minded people and organisations is very important.
I am committed to using my faith, time and energy to the best of my ability. I am always using several paths!
(Translation EJZ, 2021)