March 12, 2012

UNITED NATIONS – Women around the world, particularly rural women who face poverty and hunger, should be allowed to influence decisions that affect the lives of families, a Vatican official told the United Nations.

Improving the lives of women will assist families, the communities in which they live and society as a whole, said Dianne Willman, attache at the Holy See's permanent observer mission to the United Nations.

Willman's comments came as she addressed the UN Commission on the Status of Women March 6 on behalf of Archbishop Francis Chullikatt, the Vatican's UN nuncio.

Poverty and hunger are largely caused by unfair social and political systems that perpetuate inequality and deprive women of legal rights and a voice in decisions that affect them, Willman said.

She also cited unhygienic situations, poor nutrition, lack of access to water and inaccessible health care as social conditions that must be overcome for millions of women.

"Education and training, the provision of resources, service delivery, access to financial systems and communication technology are just some areas which demand ongoing attention as they lead to realization of the right to development," she added.

"Full respect must be accorded to the dignity of women, which is grounded in the very nature of being human and from which flow both rights and responsibilities," she said.

Letter to the Editor - 03/26/12