A panel discussion on Gender and Religion took place with Rev. Fred Nyabera moderating the session.
Fr. Evanjelos Thiani, Priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church, teaches theology and development studies. He is also the chair for Side by Side Kenya. He shared on his perspectives, as a Christian, about the issues of gender, GBV and religion. He talked about the importance of female leadership, both in the society and in church. “If we can teach about God, who we cannot see, why we cannot teach about things we can see and experience?”
Abdikarim Hassan gave his perspectives, as a Muslim, about the issues of gender, GBV and religion. The Quran is neutral with regards to gender issues in the world today. “Allah does not talk about gender issues, it is taken back to the actions of human kind. Islam has never differentiated men and women.”
Dr. Lydia Mwaniki works with the AACC as the Head of the Theology, Family Life and Gender Justice Department, and is a priest in the Anglican Church. The problem of GBV has impacted children and youth extremely negatively. She gave a sense of the breadth and scale of this challenge and how best young people can collaborate with religious leaders in pursuing gender justice. GBV is viewed as a human rights breach, and a problem for development, especially with regards to women and children.
Dr. Grace Wamae Ngare, said religious leaders have often been seen as part of the problem, but they can also be part of the solution in the advancement of gender equality. The society does then not have the opportunity to question religious leaders, because they are power. “Why is religion, being so powerful, not able to overcome these difficulties? Why does culture overcome religion?”