Speaking ahead of the World Women’s Day of Prayer, Pacific Conference of Churches General Secretary Reverend Francois Pihaatae said women were not second class citizens.
“We often hear that Pacific cultures confine women to service – cooking, caring for children and other support roles – and that therefore they must merely serve and listen,” Rev Pihaatae said.
“In fact women are primary health care givers, they are educators and mentors.
“This modern, developing Pacific must allow for our women to translate those age-old roles into the present day equivalent which means meaningful, leading roles in government, the church, politics, in villages and civil society.”
The theme for World Women’s Day of Prayer 2014 is Living Streams and celebrations in Fiji today include a 6am service at Dudley Memorial Church, Toorak and an inter-denominational service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral at 5pm.
Rev Pihaatae said organizers must be commended for the inter-denominational aspect of the event.
But he warned that leaders must take the opportunity of Women’s World Day of Prayer to allow women equal voices in communal, national and particularly church events.
“Too often women spend their time cooking and decorating at these events,” he said.
“The time has come for women to take their rightful place in the meeting houses, at the discussion tables to contribute to debate and development.”
Rev Pihaatae said men continued to hold power within the region and must learn to share these responsibilities in a loving manner as ordained by the teachings of the Bible.
“This is about partnership, sharing a journey and Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians is quite clear on this.”