Catholic Women Speak is committed to challenging injustices against women and girls in the Church and society, and to creating spaces for women in the worldwide Church to speak and be heard. We believe that the global diversity of Catholic women is a gift to be shared and not a problem to be solved. We represent many different cultures and ways of life, and we look for a Church in which these can be fully embraced and affirmed as sources of wisdom and resources for transformation. 

Catholic women around the world are speaking out as never before against the continued marginalisation and silencing of women’s voices in the Church, and their near-total exclusion from positions of leadership. For example, more than 50% of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics are women, but less than 3% of the Vatican’s leaders are female. Vatican City is now the only state in the world in which women are officially denied the right to vote.

This is potentially a momentous week for Catholics around the world. As we begin the season of Lent, many are reeling from yet more evidence of abuse, cover-ups and corruption at the heart of the Catholic hierarchy. Cardinal Pell’s conviction by an Australian court on charges of the sexual abuse of minors has made headline news and sent shockwaves through the Church. Frédéric Martel’s book In the Closet of the Vatican has exposed a widespread culture of secret gay cabals, blackmail and corruption among senior members of the Catholic hierarchy. The summit of leaders of bishops’ conferences from around the world on the sexual abuse of minors was notable primarily for the outspoken contributions of the three women speakers invited to address a gathering of 190, of whom only twelve were women.

This week, Ash Wednesday is followed by International Women’s Day on Friday. The theme this year is #BalanceforBetter. As Catholic women, we do not believe that decisions which affect all of us can be made by a small group of men who do not represent us, and we too seek balance for better in our Church’s leadership and representation.

We are delighted to partner Voices of Faith in promoting their campaign #overcomingsilence, which aims to gather a million supporters to promote the greater inclusion of women in the leadership of the Catholic Church. Please visit the Voices of Faith website and consider adding your name to the campaign.

Click here to watch women from around the world who are staying in and speaking out