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Dignity of women on the agenda

JOHOR BAHRU, Malaysia (Zenit): South East Asian dioceses and parishes need to focus on promoting the dignity of women, an Indonesian bishop said.

Bishop Agustinus Agus of Sintang, Indonesia, affirmed this to Catholic women from South East Asia attending a meeting ending on February 1 in Malaysia to reflect on how to promote the dignity of women.

The meeting, the second of its kind, focused this year on “Challenges to Women and the Family in the 21st Century”.

It was sponsored by the Office of Laity and Family of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences and was attended by participants from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia and the Philippines.

Bishop Agus, a member of the family and laity office, gave the inaugural address. He encouraged ministry focusing on the dignity of women at both the diocesan and parish levels.

The prelate especially noted the plight of migrant women: “Many of these women suffer discrimination and violence in the countries in which they work and the break-up of their family at home. Some of these women are tricked into prostitution.”

Bishop Agus also noted the value of women’s role within the family, as well as the challenges they face.

“The domestic work a woman does is taken for granted … the responsibility of family planning is usually put on the woman; she has to undergo the tensions of taking precautions to plan the number of children, using the right methods of birth control and raising the children to meet the high expectations of modern society,” he said.

In her report on trafficking of women and children in Indonesia, Kim Warren of the International Catholic Migration Commission said Indonesian migrant women were trapped into sex work and becoming mail-order brides.

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