For the first time, The Salvation Army in Australia has appointed a full-time researcher into gender equity, to be based at Eva Burrows College in Melbourne. Major Christine Faragher took up the role last month.
The role (Researcher-Gender Equity) is an initiative being jointly supported by The Salvation Army and the University of Divinity—of which Eva Burrows College is a recognised college.
“Both the university and The Salvation Army want to see higher level research in this area, so there is good support from both institutions,” said Major Faragher, who has been a Salvation Army officer (minister) for 36 years.
“I have been shaped by study in the arts, theology, spiritual direction, and supervision so I come to this research with a solid foundation across a number of streams.”
The topic of Major Faragher’s research will contribute to a PhD. “The focus of the PhD, which is yet to be determined, will give the research shape,” explained Major Faragher. “It will be worked out with both my academic supervisors at the university and in consultation with The Salvation Army’s Gender Equity Committee, headed by Colonel Julie Campbell.
“The primary starting point is likely to be the experience of women officers (ministers). This will not just be an academic exercise but an in-depth look at what we’re focusing on as an organisation in gender equity, with the expectation that the research will have practical outcomes in terms of informing thinking, strategies, policy and direction going forward.
“We will also be addressing what has happened in the past, cultural and systemic issues and both the national and international Salvation Army contexts.”