Activity: Structure and Needs

Exhibitions are easily organized; they simply require the consent of the participants, the art to be exhibited, and a space, preferably a public one. Women involved in the project should be from different religious and faith backgrounds to promote dialogue and coexistence. Moreover, participants should have the opportunity to share their experiences as women in their cultural and religious communities, to shed light on their realities and their experiences. This would create a space for both participants and visitors to relate with others’ narratives, and this engage in a dialogue that goes beyond religious differences.

The Women of Faith initiative enables women to engage in the leadership of a religious community and addresses issues of discrimination and gender inequality. The idea is to gather women of different faiths to discuss relevant subjects and issues they face in their communities. Such an activity should be organized within an interfaith council that allows and gives a safe space for women to gather and be a part of the council.

 

Objectives: Impact and Focus

This is a promising practice because it puts the spotlight on societal actors who are usually sidelined and who are not usually included in interfaith dialogue. It empowers women to voice their concerns and experiences on a public stage, and thus fosters dialogue between different societal actors and the important role women play in creating peaceful communities.

By focusing on women and their leadership skills, this practice would impact on the long-term religious communities and women’s role in the hierarchy of their institutions. Since they are women of faiths, they can directly confess what it is like to be a woman in religious communities and raise awareness on the role of women in society, as a whole. This initiative fosters gender equality and interreligious dialogue.

 

Field Data: Examples and Sources (Activity – Organisation – Location)

1.) Interfaith Women Portrait Exhibition – Chama Metchtaly – Casablanca, Morocco

Chama Metchtaly, a woman painter from a Moroccan background paints women portraits from a minority religion, Judaism, in Morocco. She showcases the paintings in a public place such as a gallery, a school or another room and explains to the people passing by that the people portrayed on the walls are adherents of Judaism. She personally discovered that she had Jewish and Muslim origins and therefore began painting to expose facets of her ancestral history to the world. Next to Morocco, her works have also been exhibited in Europe and in the US.

 

2.) Women of Faith – Interfaith Council – Mexico City, Mexico

The Interfaith Council of Mexico City has been organizing a similar event around women for about 10 years. Through the women participating in their “Women of Faith” event, men and children have acknowledged the talents and skills of women of their communities. As the years have gone by, it seems like gender equality has become the norm in these communities.