Eva was Programme Assistant of the Women and Gender Desk of Mission 21 in Switzerland. She holds a BA in History and German Literature & Language and a MA in African Studies. She previously worked for the Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa and the Centre for African Studies Basel.
1. What was your first connection with Mission 21 or the Basel Mission?
My first course at the University of Basel was on the historical relations between Switzerland and Africa. One topic of the course, which I found very interesting, covered the Basel Mission and its presence in Sub Sahara Africa. Later on, I noticed on a research trip to Buea (Cameroon) that the relations of the Basel Mission/Mission 21 with the Presbyterian Church in Cameroon last until today. I particularly liked how critical Mission 21 engages with its past. As a historian, I enjoy being now part of an institution with a rich history and I am excited to develop partnerships based on mutual respect and deep appreciation for each other.
2. Why do you think the empowerment of women is important in Faith Based Organizations?
Personally, I always missed femininity in Christian religion. God was presented to me as an old white man even though it is written in Genesis 1:27: “God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” It’s maybe because of my perceived lack of the presence of women in (Swiss) Christian religion that I wrote my high school graduation paper on Mary, the mother of Jesus. I find it crucial for living our spirituality that women can take space in faith based organisations and churches. Women should be represented in all aspects of life. That is why, it is important to also aim attention at the empowerment of women in faith based organisations such as Mission 21 and its partner churches and partner organisations.
3. What are in your experience the main challenges to overcome as an advocacy leader for women’s human rights?
It’s tough as a woman to speak up in the public space. Many men still find it difficult when women publicly express their opinions. They attack women in order to silence them. One example is the hatred adult men express towards teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg. Misogyny is still very present.
4. What are the main issues you would like to advocate (or you are already advocating for) in your community in order to fight for women’s human rights and achieve gender justice?
I am very passionate about fighting gender based violence, especially sexual violence. In my work as a programme assistant, I have a particular focus on intersectionality. I hope therefore that I never lose sight of my privileges of being white and living in Switzerland, and I am looking forward to listening to the voices of my sisters in Africa, Asia and Latin America!