[CSI] The Church of South India leadership has stated in unequivocal terms that it is committed to gender equity in society. Speaking on the occasion of the inauguration of the two-day orientation to representatives from the different CSI dioceses covering the five southern states in India, the CSI Moderator, The Most Revd. Thomas K Oomen, said that the Church has always been committed to gender equity and will continue to do that in both society and in the Church.
Every speaker at the inauguration including the General Secretary of the CSI, the Revd. Dr. D. Ratnakara Sadananda, the Treasurer of the CSI, Advocate Robert C. Bruce and the President of the Synod Women’s Fellowship, Dr. Susan Thomas, affirmed this stand of the Church which is known for the consecration of a woman as its Bishop, the ordination of at least 300 women as priests of the Church and a host of women empowerment programs and the education of the children particularly girls.
The two-day orientation was on a Gender Equity Enabling Timetable (the GEET) that addressed sexual harassment at the workplace, domestic violence and concerns leading to positive masculinities. The Women’s fellowships and the Men’s fellowships will take up this challenge and address it in their respective dioceses.
Participants attending the orientation drawn from the Diocesan Women’s fellowships and men’s fellowships will seek to address the concerns through facilitating compliance to the Sexual Harassment at Work place (Prohibition, Prevention and Redressal) Act 2013 wherein Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) will be set up in all diocesan institutions/ offices where there are more than 10 employees working in order that equity is built between male and female employees in workplaces. The participants will facilitate legal trainings on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 in order to help men and women identify contexts and nature of abuse and for women to know the protection under law against domestic violence. Through this gender equity among men and women is sought to be nurtured in families. This activity is sought to be carried out through the counselling centres/ programs of the different dioceses. Men in at least five congregations of every diocese will study a course on Positive Masculinities consisting of eight modules which will lead to a better understanding of the role of men in partnering with women vis-à-vis a hegemonic relationship.
The diocesan representatives prepared a local action plan to form ICCs in relevant institutions in the dioceses and ways in which the domestic violence trainings can be carried out in their respective contexts. The curriculum orientation on Positive masculinities course will be taken up once the modules customised to Indian context is ready.
Advocate Adilakshmi Logamurthy, Secretary of Women Lawyers Association of High Court Madras, facilitated the legal sessions while Revd. Asir Ebenezer Director CSI-SEVA introduced the concept of positive masculinities and the plan of the course material as contained in the document of the World Communion of Reformed Churches. Rt. Revd. Pushpalalitha, Bishop of Nandyal participated in the orientation and led the reflection during the worship on the second day. Mrs. Glory Thomas, Program Executive CSI-GEET, coordinated the programme. Presidents of Diocesan Women’s Fellowships and two women representatives and one male representative from 22 dioceses participated in the orientation and planned course of action for their respective dioceses.