SOTP2016 - Christianity and Gender

Christianity and Gender panel speakers at SOTP2016. Image SSGM

The cultural landscape of Papua New Guinea has long been dominated by Christianity, which is now completely entrenched, being central to the way in which most Papua New Guineans make sense of the world, and having a pervasive influence in their daily lives. Indeed, the dominance of Christianity is striking; there is a Christian church in every community, often several, and churches have been a significant catalyst for change, with church leaders generally commanding a far greater respect than representatives of the government. Understandably, though, the churches have been influenced by the existing indigenous culture and the longstanding practices of gender inequality and violence against women in Papua New Guinea have seen the churches providing scriptural support to the culture of male dominance and to justify violence against women. However, it is also important to note that there is considerable diversity in the approaches of the various churches to these problematic issues. While the prospects for gender equality are far from bright, some of the churches are increasingly adopting more progressive programs and this session reports on some of these initiatives.

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