Gender Justice and Women's Empowerment

What does the ELCA Gender Justice and Women's Empowerment program do?

ELCA Gender Justice and Women's Empowerment, formerly called ELCA Justice for Women, is shaped by the unique voices and experiences of a multitude of people across race, ethnicity, ability, class, sexuality and age. It is within this rich foundation that we work to:

  • tap into Lutheran theological roots to address sexism
  • connect this theology with specific issues in the world
  • encourage people of all genders to work together

These priorities nourish the work and service of this church and society.

Within the Jewish and Christian traditions, justice is linked to God’s love, God’s fervor for life lived out of grace for others. Lutherans affirm that because we are redeemed by God through Jesus Christ — because we are justified — we turn to others to find out what they need.

Justice infuses Scripture, from the Hebrew prophets to Jesus’ parables and life. Broadly speaking, biblical justice concerns the integrity of the entire creation. The ELCA recognizes that the integrity of women and girls is constantly violated and/or compromised, physically, intellectually, economically, spiritually and emotionally. Gender justice, including Gender Justice and Women's Empowerment, matters because through God’s grace we are called to tend to women, girls, and people whose gender identity and expression fall outside of familiar categories as our neighbors. The ELCA also recognizes that tending to our neighbors includes not only immediate needs, such as food, shelter and safety, but also changes in social and religious ideas and structures.

What can you do?

Educate for justice.

  • Understand patriarchy and sexism.
  • Analyze church and society in terms of the effects of patriarchy on all people.

Advocate for change.

  • Call for changes in church practices and interpretations, as well as social policy and practice, to support and reflect the full humanity of all people.
  • Call for gender justice and theological reflection in programs and policies.

Lead into the future.

  • Raise awareness and challenge societal, theological and ecclesial practices and beliefs that are patriarchal.
  • Work with a variety of people to create change that leads to gender justice, which affects everyone.

Use Gender Justice and Women's Empowerment program resources for individual and group study and action. If you are looking for more resources from a global perspective, explore the Gender Justice Policy of the Lutheran World Federation.