The Women’s participation in the Jesuit world – a global survey

One of the main initiatives taken by the “Women’s Commission” of the Society (see the article published on 25 October) has been to organize a worldwide survey. Here, the director of the project tells us more about the goals, methods and status of their enterprise.

By Melissa Navarra – Ateneo de Manila University

The research team members are from the Institute of Philippine Culture of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines. We were commissioned by the General Curia of the Society of Jesus to support the research objectives of the 10-member Commission on the Role and Responsibilities of Women in the Society of Jesus (the “Women’s Commission”). This was set up to keep track, document, update, and recommend to the global leadership of the Society of Jesus the implementation of Decree 14 (titled “Jesuits and the Situation of Women in Church and Civil Society”) promulgated at the 34th General Congregation of the Jesuits in 1995.

The research team was recruited in March 2022 by the Women’s Commission to co-design and implement a global survey to locate women’s participation, roles, and responsibilities within the structures of the Society of Jesus. The survey has five parts. The first section asks for the socio-demographic profile of the respondents. There are three sections corresponding to the three objectives of the survey: (1) perceptions about women’s roles and responsibilities in the Society of Jesus, (2) how these translate into practices in the ways of proceeding within Jesuit institutions, and (3) recommendations to support the further engagement of women in the Society. The last section contains a few open-ended questions about how respondents define the equality between men and women, the gender issues women find most pertinent, the types of assistance women need from the Society of Jesus, and the efforts the Society of Jesus needs to make to implement Decree 14. The survey tool was a result of the strong collaboration between the Commissioners and the research team - from crafting the appropriate questions to validating the translations in four languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French).


The team members: Melissa Navarra, leader, with project managers Jessica Sandra Claudio and Jan Jacob Carpio.
Here with Father General.

The pilot survey was implemented from 6 September to 7 October 2022. Out of 192 target respondents, 141 responded to the survey (73.44% response rate) across six Conferences. Findings from the pilot survey suggest that overall, the respondents perceive the Society of Jesus as gender-responsive and inclusive. The role of women in the Society of Jesus is perceived as crucial and significant, but respondents disagree that men and Jesuits are more suited to work and lead Jesuit institutions. Additionally, some women still point out that male domination and condescension remain part of their realities.

The research team and the Women’s Commission hope to implement the full survey from November 2022 until February 2023. We intend to reach a minimum of 1,440 respondents across the six Jesuit Conferences, covering the education sector, social apostolate, spiritual life, and other ministries and apostolates of the Jesuits. With the support of the General Curia, Assistancies and all Jesuit institutions and collaborators concerned, we envision obtaining crucial insights and evidence to help the Commission make appropriate (and, why not, revolutionary) recommendations to the Society of Jesus in fulfillment of the prophetic declarations proclaimed by Decree 14 of General Congregation 34.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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