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International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 2021

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25 NOVEMBER 2021

What kind of violence against women are we talking about? Psychological, verbal, physical, sexual or symbolic violence? Because all of these, in addition to femicide, are the ones that have increased during the pandemic.

“The testimonies of victims who dare to break their silence are a cry for help that we cannot ignore, we cannot look the other way,” Pope Francis told us on 1 February 2021.

This is one of the reasons why the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations (WUCWO) has founded the World Observatory on Women on a pilot basis. We have the first results on the impact of the Coronavirus on women in Latin America and the Caribbean.

25 women experts from 14 countries said that the pandemic has aggravated pre-existing structural violence.

The stress, anguish and anxiety of confinement unleashed and exacerbated situations of domestic violence. Churches, during the confinement, were unable to provide spaces for listening and denunciation.

The fact that victims and perpetrators lived in the same space, isolated from the rest, unleashed the other pandemic: violence. Unable to go out, women could not ask for help. The children, unable to go to school, also lost their space for expression and protection.

It is estimated that 70% of femicides occurred in a home shared with the assailant. Some perpetrators were released from prison - due to the risk of contracting the virus - and returned to live with their victims within the four closed walls of the family home.

According to some experts, in certain communities, not only has psychological violence against women increased since the beginning of the pandemic, but the number of pregnancies of girls as young as 10 years old has also increased, due to abuse by family members (fathers, brothers, uncles, aunts or grandparents).

And the pandemic has not stopped trafficking networks; on the contrary, there has been an increase in trafficking, often with police forces favouring it and corrupt state officials. Traffickers and the demanders of services in which women are a commodity have established new strategies for obtaining and “marketing” victims through means such as the Internet and transport networks that take victims to clients and back.

The experts propose, first: creating spaces where women can be heard, places where they feel safe when they want to ask for help and where they are accompanied.

Second: the training of women as a key element for their empowerment, for the transformation of structural, symbolic violence through education that promotes a culture where men and women live in mutual respect and equal application of their rights.

Third: the inclusion of women in public policy decision-making spheres and, from there, the promotion of programmes for the benefit of populations vulnerable to the risk of violence.

This undoubtedly requires co-responsibility on the part of men and women in the eradication of violence against women.


María Lía Zervino, Servidora

WUCWO President

107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees

M R Photos 52xTowards an ever wider “we” is the theme chosen by the Holy Father for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) which will be celebrated on the 26th of September 2021. An appeal to build a universal “we” - may this be achieved first and foremost within the Church, called upon to create communion within diversity.

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First Anniversary of Fratelli tutti

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This year we celebrate the first Anniversary of the Encyclical "Fratelli tutti", which was signed by Pope Francis in Assisi, Italy, on 3 October 2020.

It proposes fraternity and social friendship as the ways indicated to build a better, more just and peaceful world, with the commitment of all: people, institutions, the economic world, international organisations, civil society.

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First World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly

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Pope Francis has decided to institute the Church-wide celebration of World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly. Starting this year, it will be held on the fourth sunday of July, close to the liturgical memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the grandparents of Jesus.

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WUCWO President Contributions

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- "The future is in the hands of lay ministries"

The monthly "Donne Chiesa Mondo" of the Osservatore Romano published an interview with María Lía Zervino, President General of WUCWO on the topic of the formation of laywomen. You can read the interview by clicking here.

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WUCWO supports the "WASH Project"

Wash news picture

WUCWO supports the WASH project (access to drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in health care facilities belonging to the Catholic Church, developed by the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development in collaboration with religious congregations, bishops, Caritas Internationalis and Global Water 2020.

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Open letter to Pope Francis

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The President General María Lía Zervino, Servidora, wrote this open letter on the occasion of the anniversary of the eighth year of the pontificate of Pope Francis. It has received various repercussions from the international press.

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FOTO PANEL ENG 3 march 2021

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) and the Consulta Femminile of the Pontifical Council for Culture have organized, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the patronage of various Embassies to the Holy See, an ecumenical and interreligious webinar entitled "Women reading Fratelli tutti".

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#PrayAgainstTrafficking 2021

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International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking - An Economy without Human Trafficking.

The International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking 2021 brings into the spotlight one of the main causes of human trafficking: the dominant economic model of our time, whose limits and contradictions are exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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International Day of Human Fraternity

international womens day 3 3 2020

Pope Francis, during his weekly General Audience, recalls the first International Day of Human Fraternity, which falls on 4 February. The international day was established by a Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in December 2020.

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Fratelli tutti – Social friendship: a new lifestyle

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A reflection by our President General for the official website of Fratelli Tutti.

My home country is Argentina. A nation marked by social confrontation at different times in its history; divided into two great antagonistic factions caused by political, ideological, economic and other reasons. Even now we continue to harm each other because of a terrible “rift”. However, from the bowels of this people, the Lord called one of his own, Cardinal Bergoglio, to steer, like Peter, the boat of the Church in the midst of the global storm of the Coronavirus and a “’third world war’ fought piecemeal”. The encyclical Fratelli tutti was born from his pastoral experience.

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25 November - International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

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WUCWO President appointed consultant to the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue

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The Pope has appointed María Lía Zervino, Servidora, President General of WUCWO, as a member of the new group of consultants of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. This is a significant recognition for WUCWO and its long history in the processes of ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

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Countdown to climate change

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Pope invites Countdown participants on a journey toward climate change - in his second TED talk appearance, Pope Francis sends a video message to participants in “Countdown”, saying it is time to make planet-changing choices.

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September 23rd, 2020, marks the International Day Against Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking of Women and Children.

It was established by the World Conference of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons in coordination with the Women's Conference that took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in January 1999 and was organised by the International Coalition against Trafficking in Women.

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Our President's interview for International Women's Day

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Being WUCWO an international organisation that represents women from all around the world, on the occasion of International Women's Day, our President General, María Lía Zervino, Servidora, was interviewed by Vatican News and Rome Reports.

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Women Makers of Human Fraternity, conference for Women's Day 2020

international womens day 3 3 2020

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, an Interreligious and Ecumenical meeting on the document HUMAN FRATERNITY FOR WORLD PEACE AND LIVING TOGETHER signed by His Holiness Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmad Al-Tayyeb (Abu Dhabi, 4 February 2019) was held on the 3rd of March 2020.

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"Women Makers of Human Fraternity" - Conference for Women's Day 2020

Locandina registration 3March2020

On the occasion of the International Women's Day, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and the sponsorship of the Embassy of Argentine to the Holy See, the Embassy of Austria to the Holy See, the Embassy of the Netherlands to the Holy See and the Embassy of the Philippines to the Holy See, will hold a conference entitled "Women Makers of Human Fraternity" on Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at Lungotevere Tor di Nona 7 in Rome.

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International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation


Message of the WUCWO President, María Lía Zervino

on the occasion of the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)


Chain of women embracing against female genital mutilation

Girls between the ages of 4 and 14 are the main victims of this aberrant practice. According to the latest UN report, more than 4 million girls are at risk of female genital mutilation in 30 countries in 2020.

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10th January 2020: Private audience with the Holy Father

Los 3 sentados con élWe thank Pope Francis for granting a private audience to the WUCWO authorities, María Lía Zervino and Andrea Ezcurra, servidoras, and Fr Gerard Whelan, SJ, who were received in his library on 10 January 2020. The meeting made it possible to express gratitude, on behalf of the 8 million members of our organisations, for the delicate and frequent attention the Holy Father gives to women, particularly the most vulnerable, throughout the world. 

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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The Mirabal sisters assassinated on 25 November 1960  in the Dominican Republic.


The time has come!

The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations today renews and increases its commitment to eliminate discrimination and violence against women (Dakar Resolution 2018).

The time has come! Men and women: it is urgent to become agents of cultural change.

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Closing of the special Synod for the Pan-Amazon region

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WUCWO also attended the last briefing on the work of the Synod on Friday 25 October. The following participated:

- Bishop Joaquín Humberto Pinzón Güiza, I.M.C., vicar apostolic of Puerto Leguízamo-Solano, titular of Ottocio, Colombia;

- Bishop Evaristo Pascoal Spengler, O.F.M., bishop-prelate of Marajó, Brazil;

- Reverend Nicolau Nascimento de Paiva, coordinator of CAIC, the Evangelical Church of the Lutheran Confession in Brazil, Brazil;

- Reverend Fr. Miguel Heinz, S.V.D., president of Adveniat, Germany;

- Reverend Suora Inés Azucena Zambrano Jara, M.M.I., of the Missionary Sisters of Mary Immaculate and of Saint Catherine of Siena, Colombia;

- Dr. Paolo Ruffini, prefect of the Dicastery for Communication;

- Fr. Giacomo Costa, S.J., secretary of the Commission for Information.

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The Amazon and Beyond

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“The Amazon and Beyond. Integral Ecology, Multiple Vulnerabilities and Youthful Commitments” was the title of the seminar organised on October 18 by the newly set up Observatory of the faculty of Social Sciences of the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome in which WUCWO participated the seminar held during the current Special Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region aimed to deepen, inspire and open “transdisciplinary paths illuminating new ways of relating to God, to others and to the space around us” (Evangelii gaudium n.74).

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2. Evento 15 octubre

On the occasion of the Special Assembly of the Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region, WUCWO together with Italian Azione Cattolica, the International Forum of Azione Cattolica and the Pio XI Foundation (School of Holiness of Azione Cattolica) organised an event on October 15 to discuss the theme "Witnesses and martyrs of the inculturation of faith in the Amazon".

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Press Conference to present the Special Assembly of the Amazon Synod - 3.10.2019

Press conference Amazon Oct 3

WUCWO participates to the press conference, organised in the Holy See Press Office on October 3, of presentation of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, taking place in the Vatican’s New Synod Hall from 6 to 27 October 2019, on the theme: Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for integral ecology.

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“Pray for Cuba, that is bleeding"


Her heartbreaking testimony invites you to look back at that long-suffering island, whose ordeal seems not to end.

The testimonies of the Cuban doctors in Venezuela, a few hours ago through a Colombian media, have highlighted the harassment suffered by the Maduro regime, which forced them to condemn those in need of health care to support the president and proclaim its "goodnesses". They have done this, outside, of course. While they were in Venezuelan territory, under the magnifying glass of both Cuban and Venezuelan governments, they had to keep their mouths shut.

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Press conference presenting “Amazon: Common Home” - Rome September 20, 2019

Rueda prensa Amazonia Casa Comun

On Friday, September  20, at 4pm, WUCWO participated to the presentation of  “Amazon: Common Home” that took place in the Marconi Room of the Vatican Radio.  “Amazon: Common Home” is a project that will unite institutions, associations, and congregations during the next Amazon Synod through more than 130 events organized in Rome from October 5 to 27.

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WUCWO President General elected co-president of Religions for Peace

x asamblea lindauFrom the 20th to the 23rd of August 2019, in Lindau, Germany, the 10th World Assembly of Religions for Peace took place, with more than 900 participants. Among them 98 religious representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean were present.

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WUCWO's new institutional video

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Check out our new institutional video!

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"The women promoters of hope" - Conference for Women's Day 2019

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On the occasion of International Women's Day, the World Union of Catholic Women's Organisations, with the sponsorship of the British Embassy to the Holy See and the Embassy of Peru to the Holy See, held a conference entitled "The women promoters of hope" on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at the auditorium of the International Union of Superiors General, located in Lungotevere Tor di Nona 7 in Rome.

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WYD Panama 2019 Hymn

WYD Panama 2019 logo

​The local organising committee ​is happy to share with you the international video of the World Youth Day Panama 2019 hymn "Hágase en Mí según Tu Palabra". The video shows us some emblematic places of Panama, and the hymn is sung in the 5 official languages of World Youth Day.

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United Nations Human Rights Day, December 10th 2012

As all people of good will around the world unite to recognize United Nations Human Rights Day 2012, The World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) joins its voice, thought and prayer to the call for all human beings to be accorded basic human rights, including the right of profound dignity from the moment of conception to natural death.  Further, we note the need for a reality where all persons will have access to what they require in order to make their unique contribution to our world. 

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Rio +20 Conference

Sustainability starts with respect of the human being

Two representatives of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organizations will take part at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development “Rio +20“ which begins today in Brazil.

Rosaline Nganku Menga (Cameroon), WUCWO Vice President for Africa and Mariana Vanyay (Argentina) will join with local administrations, NGOs, scientific communities, and trade-unions that have been invited.

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