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Need for Consistent Dialogue among African Women Emphasized at Nairobi Conference

Professor Mary Getui addressing the Participants at the Conference on Religion and Gender

The need for consistent dialogue among African women regardless of age, cultural, and religious differences has been emphasized at the third edition of the conference on Religions and Gender held in Kenya.

During the Friday, February 26 session of the conference that focused on “Interreligious Dialogue as a Space for Women Representation and Collaboration in Christian Tradition,” Prof. Mary Getui underscored the value of dialogue.

We can cross cultural and social spaces through dialogue. We can cross the outsider and dynamic barriers through dialogue. Dialogue can lead to the crossing of political barriers,” the Professor of Religious Studies at the Kenya-based Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) said.

For interreligious dialogue to bear fruit, Prof. Getui who doubles as the Chairperson of the National Aids Control Council (NACC) in Kenya further said, “women regardless of religion” need to appreciate each other’s uniqueness and differences.

Women also need to deepen their personal faith as it will help in appreciating “other faith’s conviction,” the Kenya-based religious studies expert added during the conference that was organized by TUC’s Institute for Interreligious Dialogue and Islamic Studies (IRDIS).

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She emphasized the value of “intra-dialogue, that is, speaking to oneself, about your own convictions” as well as the need to appreciate “the private space which gives an opportunity for intra-dialogue.”

“Appreciating the personal space will help in the public space where we can have interreligious dialogue,” Prof. Getui further said.

What matters the most when it comes to dialogue is that “there is a common good,” she went on to say, adding that dialogue should be ongoing as it helps overcome various differences in the society.

She encouraged all women in their diversity to be part of interreligious dialogue saying, “When it comes to women, age should not hinder our contribution. No matter how small or humble a person’s position is, there is no telling how far their message can go.”

The conference sessions of February 26 marked the end of the five-day Week of Human Fraternity that took place at TUC, the Nairobi-based Catholic institution of higher learning jointly-owned by 22 Religious Orders.

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The conference that kicked off February 22 included “a series of webinars by scholars from Kenya and Europe reflecting on the idea of universal fraternity, book launches, and concrete activities promoting better understanding amongst all believers,” the Director of IRDIS, Fr. Innocent Maganya said in his February 19 message shared with ACI Africa.

Last year’s Conference on Religions and Gender was guided by the theme, “Religious Minority Rights and (Inter-)Religious Literacy from a Women’s perspective.”