Welcome to the monthly prayer letter #UpForJustice from the ISJC.
 February 2016

   Welcome to the February 2015 edition of #UpForJustice – a monthly news and prayer letter from The Salvation Army’s
   International Social Justice Commission (ISJC) based in New York City, USA.

   We continue using the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for prayer and reflection. There are 17 goals
   which all 193 United Nations (UN) member states endorsed at the UN General Assembly in September 2015. The SDGs will
   shape the development agendas in all countries until 2030. Read more about the SDGs by visiting

   Having focused in January on the fourth SDG goal – quality education – this month Lieut-Colonel Eirwen Pallant reflects on the
   fifth goal – ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’.




 Prayer Focus:
 Achieving Gender

 ISJC News for Prayer and Thanksgiving

   The opening of the new USA Southern
   Territory Social Justice Centre in

   The meeting of the International Anti-
   human Trafficking Task Force on 17 and
   18 February, and anti-human trafficking
   initiatives that are being developed
   around the world 

   The annual Commission on the Status of
   Women to be held at the UN in March,
   which a number of Salvationist delegates
   will attend. The ISJC hosted almost 100
   side events in 2015 and expects a
   similar number this year. Pray for those
   involved in the planning and those taking
   part. Pray that the ISJC may be a
   showcase, not just for The Salvation
   Army but also for God.

   The Accountability Movement is being
   promoted across The Salvation Army at
   present. Pray that all Salvationists will
   respond positively to General André
   Cox’s invitation to get involved


   SDG 5 Targets  

   5.1 End all forms of discrimination
   against all women and girls everywhere 
   5.2 Eliminate all forms of violence
   against all women and girls in the public
   and private spheres, including trafficking
   and sexual and other types of
   5.3 Eliminate all harmful practices, such    as child, early and forced marriage and
   female genital mutilation
   5.4 Recognize and value unpaid care
   and domestic work through the provision
   of public services, infrastructure and
   social protection policies and the
   promotion of shared responsibility within
   the household and the family as
   nationally appropriate
   5.5 Ensure women’s full and effective
   participation and equal opportunities for
   leadership at all levels of decision-
   making in political, economic and public
   5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual
   and reproductive health and reproductive
   rights as agreed in accordance with the
   Programme of Action of the International
   Conference on Population and
   Development and the Beijing Platform for
   Action and the outcome documents of
   their review conferences
   5.a Undertake reforms to give women
   equal rights to economic resources, as
   well as access to ownership and control
   over land and other forms of property,
   financial services, inheritance and
   natural resources, in accordance with
   national laws
   5.b Enhance the use of enabling
   technology, in particular information and
   communications technology, to promote
   the empowerment of women
   5.c Adopt and strengthen sound policies
   and enforceable legislation for the
   promotion of gender equality and the
   empowerment of all women and girls at
   all levels. 





   Although gender equality has an SDG all of its own, it also plays a part in the other
   16 SDGs. An International Labour Organization (ILO) report states:

‘Gender disparities in poverty are rooted in inequalities in access to economic
resources. In many countries, women continue to be economically dependent
on their spouses. Lower proportions of women than men have their own cash
income from labour as a result of the unequal division of paid and unpaid
work. In developing countries, statutory and customary laws continue to
restrict women’s access to land and other assets, and women’s control over
household economic resources is limited. In nearly a third of developing
countries, laws do not guarantee the same inheritance rights for women and
men, and in an additional half of countries discriminatory customary practices
against women are found. Moreover, about one in three married women from
developing regions has no control over household spending on major
purchases, and about one in 10 married women is not consulted on how their
own cash earnings are spent.’ (ILO Report: Achieving Stronger Growth by
Promoting a More Gender Balanced Economy
, 2014)

   This quote shows how gender inequality impacts on the first SDG of ending poverty.
   Another ILO report on women in business noted:

‘It’s generally recognised that some of the main obstacles holding women
back are gender stereotypes, corporate cultures, difficulties in reconciling
work and family responsibilities as well as more subtle forms of gender biases
which sometimes exist in educational systems and the workplace which
results in women being lower paid and under-represented in decision-making
positions.’ (ILO Report: Women In Business and Management: Gaining
, 2015)

   And yet, as important as gender equality is in business and economically, this is
   minor when compared to the disparity it produces in levels of access to education
   and health. Two thirds of the 781 million people in the world over the age of 15 years
   who are illiterate are women. Poorer health in women is associated with lack of
   access to information and education, early marriage and a lack of decision-making
   power. (UN Report: The World’s Women, 2015)

   However, the most shocking result of gender inequality is seen in the violent abuse
   of women and girls, both physically and sexually. Research shows that one third of
   women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence by their intimate
   partner and yet less than 40 per cent of women sought help following an assault,
   with only four per cent seeking help from police, suggesting that this reluctance may
   be linked to the widespread acceptability of violence against women. There are 125
   million women who have undergone female genital mutilation. (UN Report: The
   World’s Women
, 2015)

   According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), women and girls continue
   to be killed in large numbers worldwide. In 2012, for example, at least 43,000
   women were murdered by their intimate partners or family members. (UNODC
   Report: Global Study on Homicide, 2013)

   Eighty per cent of people who have been victims of human trafficking are women
   and girls, and it is thought that of all people trafficked up to 70 per cent may be for
   sexual exploitation (Trafficking In Persons Report, 2015), which often includes
   repeated rape.

   In a statement issued during the 24th Session of the Commission on Crime
   Prevention and Criminal Justice in May 2015, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of
   UNODC said: ‘Violence against women and girls, in all its many forms, shames us
   all… We must also acknowledge that, just as no society is immune from these
   violent acts, we are all part of the solution. To end this serious crime, we must all
   work in a spirit of partnership and cooperation to change laws, change perceptions
   and change behaviours.’

   As Mr Fedotov implies in his statement, people’s behaviour is a reflection of their
   thinking. The treatment of women around the world reflects the way women are
   thought of as less than men by a vast number of people in many nations. It is a way
   of thinking that The Salvation Army has always rejected.

   The Salvation Army believes that all people are of infinite and intrinsic worth and
   each person is a precious being, male or female – they are equal in the sight of God
   and loved by him. Discrimination on any basis, whether it be colour, race, tribe,
   religion, age, disability or gender was unacceptable to Jesus and therefore is
   unacceptable to his followers. Abuse and exploitation in any form is directly
   opposed to Jesus’ command to ‘love your neighbour as yourself’ (Luke 10:25-37),
   the principle by which we are called to live.

   William Booth’s famous ‘I’ll fight’ speech, includes the words: ‘While women weep
   as they do now … while there remains one poor lost girl upon the street … I’ll fight,
   I’ll fight to the very end.’

   William Booth was promoted to Glory (died) more than 100 years ago, but The
   Salvation Army he and his wife Catherine founded remains active, and while the
   social injustice that inspired his speech remains within our communities we are still
   called to participate in the fight against evil and to promote God’s Kingdom values
   wherever we are.

   Reflecting for Action and Prayer
   Please take time to read the focus of the targets associated with this goal and pray
   that God will equip and empower people, local corps (churches) and the
   international Church to take action as they aim to bring gender equality for all.

   The following Bible verses may help reflection on gender equality:

  1. ‘So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
    God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish
    in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground”’ (Genesis 1:27-28).
    ‘Now Deborah, a prophet, the wife of Lappidoth, was leading Israel at that time. She held court under the Palm of
    Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went up to her to have their
    disputes decided’ (Judges 4:4-5).
  2. ‘As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home
    to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted
    by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left
    me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset
    about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be
    taken away from her”’ (Luke 10:38-42).
  3. ‘There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ
    Jesus’ (Galatians 3:28).
  4. ‘I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a
    way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many
    people, including me’ (Romans 16:1-2).

   Other verses that may be helpful: Matthew 9:18-25 (healing of a sick girl and a woman haemorrhaging); Matthew 26:8-13 (a
   woman anoints Jesus with perfume); Luke 8:1-3 (women who helped Jesus); John 8:1-11 (the woman caught in adultery)


  • Implementation of the SDGs around the world
  • Women and girls who are suffering, especially those subject to
    violence and discrimination
  • Ongoing local and international Salvation Army disaster responses
    throughout the world, and the efforts of those trying to combat the
    climate change that is increasing the incidence of these disasters.






Downloads and translations available below.


Tags: SDG5: Gender Equality