27. The woman has a crucial role in the life of the person, the family and society. “Each human person owes his or her life to a mother, and almost always owes her much of his or her very existence, and his or her human and spiritual formation,” (Francis, General Audience, January 7, 2015). The mother guards the memory and the feelings of birth for a lifetime: “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Lk 2,19.51). It remains true, however, that the status of women in the world is subject to large differences arising primarily from socio-cultural factors. The dignity of women needs to be defended and promoted. It is not simply a problem of resources, but of a different cultural perspective, as highlighted by the plight of women in many emerging countries. In many contexts, still, being a woman provokes discrimination: The gift of motherhood is penalized rather than valued. On the other hand, a woman’s sterility, in some cultures, is a condition that leads to social discrimination. We shouldn’t forget the growing phenomena of violence in which women are victims within the family. The exploitation of women and violence to their bodies are often linked to abortion and forced sterilization. Added to this is the negative consequences of practices related to procreation, such as surrogacy, or the commercialization of gametes and embryos. The emancipation of women requires a rethinking of the tasks of spouses in their reciprocity and a shared responsibility in family life. The desire for a child at any cost has not resulted in happier or stronger family relations, but in many cases has actually exacerbated the inequality between women and men. A greater appreciation of their responsibilities within the Church can contribute to the social recognition of the role of women: their involvement in decision-making, their participation in the government of some institutions, and their involvement in the formation of ordained ministers.
Section 27 was adopted by a vote of 251 to 9.