Women’s Desk

Ranan Issa (center), Gender Justice Program Manager of the ELCJHL, with colleagues Lutheran Ecclesiastical Court Judge Esq. Scarlett Bishara (left) and the Reverend Doctor Meghan Aelabouni (right) during a Gender Justice Theology workshop, facilitated by the ELCJHL Women’s Desk.

What does Gender Justice look like in the Holy Land? In the Lutheran Church?

In 2008, the ELCJHL began work on what is now the ELCJHL’s Women’s Desk. The purpose of this desk is to be a listening ear to women in our synod and our community, hear their struggles, and provide solution-based resources to address the prominent gender gap weighed down by traditional gender role ideology.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land is committed to promoting gender justice within the church and the society at large. Women in Palestine, like women everywhere, are busy trying to develop themselves personally and professionally while simultaneously attempting to find balance in their faith, work, and family lives. Additionally, the oppression of women and patriarchal structures continue to be significant cultural challenges in Palestine and throughout the Middle East. Palestinian women face many unique challenges living under occupation:  checkpoints, permits, other restrictions of movement, and the separation wall closing them off from schools, medical care, family, and friends.

The Women’s Desk is a direct response to these challenges. The aim of the ELCJHL Women’s Desk is to achieve full equality for women by empowering them to take leadership positions in church and society, qualifying them for full participation in the workplace, and increasing public awareness of women’s rights and gender justice. 

The desk is run by Ms. Ranan Issa and informed by a committee of women from the church, adhering to the ELCJHL’s commitment to increase women’s leadership. The committee holds many workshops and gatherings and continues to empower women to achieve significant change.

A recent accomplishment of the Women’s Desk is a change to the Lutheran Church’s Family Law. Read about this radical change and the ongoing story here.