Church Women’s Groups and the Empowerment of Women in Solomon Islands

Regina Scheyvens

Throughout the Pacific, church women’s groups play an important social and spiritual role in the lives of many indigenous women. However, these groups rarely attract the interest of development practitioners or theorists concerned with the empowerment of women, largely because of their outwardly conservative stance. Preoccupied with sewing classes, pastoral care, and social work, church women’s groups appear to epitomise a welfare approach to women’s development. Yet, while welfare concerns remain central to the activities of many such groups, by drawing on case studies from Solomon Islands in the period leading up the onset of political crisis 1999, this article demonstrates that a welfare approach does not preclude women’s groups from engaging in strategic activities for the empowerment of women. Such activities include support for logging protests, workshops to affirm the importance of women’s roles and develop their confidence, and opportunities for them to travel and expand their knowledge basis. Furthermore, the process of coming together to engage in welfare activities which many women enjoy greatly can provide opportunities for confidence-building, income generation, and networking.

Research Type(s)
Journal Article
Submitted by Toksave
March 24, 2021
Published in

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