The Vatican's official newspaper is for the first time in its more than 150-year history printing a special supplement for women, the publication said Wednesday.
The four-page colour supplement, which will appear in Italian every last Thursday of the month in the L'Osservatore Romano, aims to promote better understanding of the "under-appreciated treasure" of women in the Church, the paper's director Giovanni Maria Vian told reporters.
The supplement was thought up by historian Lucetta Scaraffia, who is an editorial writer on the paper, and another woman, Giulia Galeotti.
Pope Benedict XVI supports the project, Vian said, recalling the pontiff's 2009 statement that the "Church and society in general urgently need" female input.
"This supplement provides information on the female condition, without ignoring hot topics like procreation, access to culture and women's rights," Scaraffia said.
The Church counts among its members 740,000 nuns and 460,000 monks and priests.
L'Osservatore Romano was founded in 1861. It is a daily newspaper.