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Vatican approves association for female employees

Pope Francis greets Vatican employees in the Paul VI hall (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)

Women – lay and religious – make up almost 20 per cent of the Vatican workforce, and a group of them have formed an association designed as a forum for collaboration, sharing and outreach.

“D.VA” – for Donne in Vaticano (“Women in the Vatican”) – was approved as an association by the Vatican City governor’s office in September, according to a press release issued Dec. 7.

So far, about 50 women have joined the association that a dozen Vatican employees started organising several years ago. They say 750 women – 19 per cent of the Vatican work force – are eligible to join.

The female employees include two undersecretaries – Flaminia Giovanelli of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, and Sister Nicoletta Spezzati, a member of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ, who works at the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Natasa Govekar, a theologian, serves as director of the new theological-pastoral department of the Vatican Secretariat for Communications, and Paloma Garcia Ovejero is assistant director of the Vatican press office.

In addition, the Vatican communications’ apparatus includes many female journalists, and women scholars and restorers work at the Vatican Library, Secret Archives and Museums.

Organisers said D.VA is not a union or a pressure group, but is a “network of friendship, exchange and solidarity among all for human and professional growth.”