Academic Secretary and Professor at the Evangelical Theological Educational Association (AETE) in Peru. Gerson was part of the 2019 Training of Trainers on Advocacy for Women’s Human Rights.
1. What was your first connection with Mission 21 or Basel Mission?
I got a Mission 21 scholarship through AETE to study for four months at the Latin American Biblical University (UBL) in Costa Rica.
2. What have been your contributions to the empowerment of women?
I prefer to talk about empowerment spaces. In that sense, with AETE, we have promoted critical spaces for discussing gender roles. Firstly, with our program curriculum, which has several courses on the critical discussions of gender relations.
Secondly, each year we offer a Certification Program in Gender, with the participation of different institutions from the civil society.
Thirdly, our teachers are aware of discrimination based on gender and are encouraged to make the sessions inclusive.
Forthly, we are promoting scholarships for women who are interested in our courses.
3. Why do you think the empowerment of women is important in Faith-Based Organizations?
Because they should be the first ones in promoting a united society, where everybody is accepted under the same conditions. Besides, in this contexts of new religious fundamentalisms emergences, the Faith-Based Organizations must represent the disruptive centre of Jesus’ message. A message for the outcasts.
4. What are, in your experience the main challenges to overcome as an advocacy leader for women’s human rights in the context of Faith-Based Organization?
There are several challenges and risks in our context. I see two, one internal and one external. The first challenge is to mainstream women’s rights inside the FBO. This is not only about creating new pedagogies (awareness) for the target group of a project, but it is also about creating necessary pedagogies for the people in charge of the projects. It is required to radicalize the mainstreaming inside the FBO because of an ethical issue; coherence.
Secondly, the FBOs are challenged to co-lead, in other words, to create/organize a net to integrate and to be integrated in. Especially about this issues, because, in the Peruvian case, the aggressiveness of the fundamentalist sectors challenge the FBO to make alliances with other institutions, either Christian based or civil society movements unrelated to the Faith, so they can respond politically (and in an organized fashion) to the current context.
5. 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?
Maybe to continue and go deeper into masculinity/fatherhood issues. This issues, besides being somewhat personal, are very relevant in our context because of the high rate of men abandoning their homes. Another very important topic to me is gender-based violence that leads to femicides.
I think that the new ways to understand and live masculinity could help in the reduction of the current high violence levels and to take apart normalized violence patterns in homes, held in place by the images (affective) of a protective and disciplinarian father.