Sr. Teresa Forcades, OSB
Sister Teresa Forcades is a Benedictine nun and a prominent activist for social justice. She is a medical doctor, has a master’s degree from Harvard and is a feminist theologian who has been reprimanded by the Vatican for supporting reproductive rights.
Sister Teresa has gained a huge international following through her criticisms of pharmaceutical companies and her political campaign for the region of Catalonia to gain independence from Spain.
In a recent statement on the situation for women in the Catholic Church, Sister Teresa describes it as ‘an institution in which patriarchy is rampant. All the decision-making is linked to something called ordination, and ordination is linked to something called gender," We are delighted to welcome the very talented Sister Teresa Forcades as our keynote speaker at WOW2015.
Keeping up with Teresa Forcades, a nun on a mission (Guardian UK)
Dr. Tina Beattie
Tina Beattie is a prominent British theologian, writer and broadcaster. She is the Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton in London and Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing.
Tina continues to ask questions about Church teaching on issues such as contraception, same-sex marriage and women's ordination despite being repeatedly prevented from speaking on church premises by bishops acting under instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). She was forced to pull out of talks in San Diego and Bristol and most recently was banned from lecturing in Edinburgh.
We are delighted that Tina will speak at the WOW conference in Philadelphia and for our conference attendees to hear for themselves why there has been such outcry at this brilliant speaker and teacher being silenced by our Church authorities.
Pope Francis Has Done Little to Improve Women's Lives (Guardian UK)
Sex, Marriage, and the Catholic Church (Guardian UK)
Mary, the Virgin Priest? (Womenpriests.org)
Dr. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala a scientist from Mumbai, India, has a Masters degree in Microbiology, a PhD in Medicine, a Diploma in Tissue Banking and another in Biomedical Ethics. She established India’s first Tissue Bank at the Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, and was the first woman President of the Asia Pacific Association of Surgical Tissue Banks (APASTB) breaking a glass ceiling that had been in place for 19 years. She was also National Project Co-ordinator for Tissue Banking for an Inter-regional Project of the International Atomic Energy Agency (UN) that covered the Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and Europe.
Holder of a diploma in Theology for the Laity, Astrid writes extensively in national and international Catholic publications and has won 2 awards for journalism. She has taught at the Jesuit Regional Theologate in Gujarat and continues to teach at the St. Pius X College, the Archdiocesan Seminary in Mumbai. A member of a few Indian and Asian theological and church groups, she is engaged in women’s issues, and is a Resource Person for the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conference (FABC), the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) and the Bombay Archdiocese.
Since 1992 she has been serving on the Advisory Committee of the CBCI Women’s Commission and contributed to the drafting of the CBCI Gender Policy of the Church of India. Currently she is serving on advisory bodies of the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (JCSA) for restructuring their Assistancy and institutes for Philosophy and Theology (JFFSA). Astrid is a strong advocate of gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Church and has spoken out on the issue on several occasions, including at a March 8th International Women’s Day event in the Vatican. She is in interfaith marriage with a Hindu for over 25 years and is a mother of three children.