(Source: Women’s Ordination Conference)

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Catholic women are initiating a global strike from Church participation, attendance, and financial contributions throughout the month of May.

Organized by a network of 12 progressive Catholic organizations, the Catholic Women Strike campaign will begin on May 3rd, the “World Day of Prayer for Vocations,” and will nonviolently disrupt “business as usual” to demand women’s equal place at the altar and in Church governance. 

“Women are the lifeblood of the Church. They lead and coordinate the vast majority of parish ministries around the world. Without their presence and labor, vital work would be left undone, and pews would be empty,” said Kate McElwee, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference.

“Despite women’s essential role, we are left out of decision-making structures and sacramental leadership through ordained ministry. This injustice cannot continue.” 

Inspired by the German “Maria 2.0” movement, Catholic Women Strike will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the on-going movement in Germany, and encourage those participating in the strikes to wear white as a unifying color of women’s suffrage. 

The month-long demonstrations calls upon the institutional Church to: 

  • To remove all barriers to ministry and governance for women;
  • To reform church teaching on sexuality to reflect the complex reality of lived experience, primacy of conscience, and pastoral needs of the people of God;
  • To transform church teaching and practice to end all oppression of LGBTI+ people,  persons of color, impoverished people , and all currently on the margins in the wholeness of their personhood.
  • To create structures and processes that bring the expertise of all Catholics — especially women — to call our entire church to a just reckoning of clerical sex abuse and cover up.

“The Church cannot afford to stall on equality any longer,” said Linda Pinto of CORPUS.

“The all-male, celibate hierarchy has failed to live the Gospel by upholding prejudice and is simply no longer trusted as a moral voice in the world.” 

“Catholic Women Strike will stand shoulder to shoulder with Catholic women everywhere until the Good News of women’s full equality in ministry and governance in the Church is realized,” concluded Deb Rose-Milavec, co-director of FutureChurch.

Novena’s special editions for International Women’s Day March 8:

“Punch in the stomach”: Nuncio in Ireland blasted for ignoring female Church reform group co-coordinator

German Bishops’ head wants permission from Rome to ordain female deacons as thousands of countrywomen protest for Church equality

Catholic Women’s Council calls on Church groups around the world to fight for “dignity and equality” of women

Catholic women’s rights activist urges “anger” at patriarchy, “courage” to embrace feminism

International Orthodox-ecumenical conference decries Church “patriarchal bias”, calls for restoration of deaconesses

Pioneering nun theologian: “I’ve always wanted to be valued for my academic ability, not for being a woman”

Viewpoint: “From lay women can come profound change to end fossilised clerical power”

Vatican women’s association president sees International Women’s Day as invitation to “celebrate women’s achievements”

Updated with full statement: Irish Catholics warn hierarchy: “Women will no longer put up with second class status”

To see photos of Catholic International Women’s Day protests from around the world, courtesy of Voices of Faith, follow this link


Progressive Catholic journalist, author and educator. Working on social justice, equality and Church renewal.