Press release: Study Seminar Women and Work


The International Study Seminar Women and Work will take place on December 4th and 5th 2015, in Rome, at Villa Aurelia (Via Leone XIII 459), organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Around one hundred people from all over the world will participate: men and women, all experts in disciplines associated to the theme being studied.

Today it is necessary to recognise the important role women play both in public life, for building structures that are richer in humanity, and in family life, for the wellbeing of the family itself and the education of children. Starting from this premise, the Seminar’s goal will be to discuss causes and consequences of today’s dichotomy between family demands and the organization of work. Furthermore, the meeting will seek to analyse and consider paths to leave behind the “either-or” dilemma in which too many women find themselves today, and to propose innovative solutions towards a “one and the other” answer that combines the demands of work and the demands of family life. Proposals will be considered in favour of a greater appreciation of feminine work, so that discriminations that women workers still face – like penalization of motherhood and disparity of salaries – might be overcome. Also, there will be analysis of how to bring to light the irreplaceable service that only feminine genius can offer to humanity, for the growth of each person and the building of society.

Finally, with this Seminar the Pontifical Council for the Laity wishes to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the publication of Saint John Paul II’s Letter to Women , in which he stated his heartfelt thanks and appreciation on behalf of the Church towards women involved in professional activities. He addressed them explicitly saying: “Thank you, women who work! … you make an indispensable contribution to … the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity.”

The Seminar will gather distinguished speakers from nine countries and there will be ample space for discussion to allow the participation of all present to the reflection. At the end of each study day two participants – a man and a woman – will be charged with providing conclusions of the discussion. The Holy Father Pope Francis will send a message to participants which will certainly give orientations for the work to be undertaken.

If you are interested on more information please contact the offices of the Pontifical Council for the Laity at this email: or this number: 0669869300 and ask to speak to Ana Cristina Villa Betancourt, Head of Women’s Section

Seminar program follows:

Friday 4 December

8:15 Holy Mass
9:00 Welcoming and accreditation
9:15 Words of greeting and presentation
9:30 Introduction to the topic: Card. Stanisław Ryłko
10:00 Conference: Women work and they have always done so. Stefano and Vera Zamagni (Italy)

10:40 Break

11:10 Conference: Where feminine genius is to be found: women’s work today around the world. Ester Jiménez (Spain)
11:50 Open discussion
13:30 Lunch

15:30 Panel: Male and female roles: an idea to be discarded?

  1. The paradox of gender theory: recent neurological and psychological research on the masculine and the feminine. Marco Scicchitano (Italy)

  2. The professional roles of men and women: stereotypical or interchangeable? Geneviève Sanze (Central African Republic)

  3. Today’s families and yesterday’s roles? Stereotypes and reality. Josefina Videla (Argentina)

16:15 Break

16:45 Open discussion
18:15 Summary of the day’s discussions
18:30 End of the day’s session

Saturday 5 December

8:15 Holy Mass
9:00 Panel: Women at work with difficulties and opportunities

  1. Career and private life: Getting ahead? Holding back? Which equality should we aspire to? Helen Alvaré (USA)

  2. Women in leadership: is there a need for ‘pink quotas’? Ilva Myriam Hoyos (Colombia)

  3. Good looks: an advantage or an obstacle? Maria Teresa Russo (Italy)

9:45 Open discussion

10:45 Break

11:15 Panel: Family and work: how to reconcile the two

  1. Effective policies to find a balance. Eugenia Roccella (Italy)

  2. Family: the primary driving force for development. Mina Ramirez (Philippines)

  3. Motherhood: a burden or added value for a business? Elizabeth Schiltz (USA)

  4. Working at home doesn’t stop at the front door: a contribution to the growth of all. Bryan Sanderson (UK)

12:30 Open discussion

13:30 Lunch

15:30 Panel: To foster a feminine presence that can make the world richer in humanity

  1. Educating girls: feminine genius at the service of humanity. Terry Polakovic (USA)

  2. Care ethics: the inestimable value of embracing fragility. Susy Zanardo (Italy)

  3. Career and family: they can be balanced (Testimony) Clara Gaymard (France)

16:15 Break

16:45 Open discussion
18:00 Summary of the day’s discussions
18:15 Conclusions: Card. Stanisław Ryłko
18:30 End of the Seminar

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