Women’s issues is something that has recently become very interesting to me. I had never given it much thought until this year, but now it takes up a good amount of my brain power.
I’d always been raised that I could do anything I wanted to and the fact that I was a girl never was an obstacle. When I switched churches when I was sixteen, I was introduced to a branch of church that believed women had one role and one role only: that sweet, kind, gentle, domicile, submissive gal that throws bridge parties and raises kids that comes to mind when you think of the 1950’s? That’s her.
And so I tried to fit that role. I had never given much though to women in leadership or pastoral roles, but my new church clearly believed that women had no privileges when it came to leadership. Talk about confusing when you’re being told by everyone and their cousin that you’re a natural born leader and will do great things.
Then I came to Fox, where we have a women pastor and women are accepted high up in leadership. I was appalled at first: isn’t this what my home church preached against?? How could I be going to such a pagan Christian school?? It soon became clear to me, after a few run ins with some great leadership opportunities and a complementarian relationship that showed me that I was NOT very good at being submissive, that I needed to re-evaluate my role and place in the church and the world.
Which leads me to yesterday. I was at the Justice Conference in Portland and one of the sessions was an interview between Stephen Baumen, the President and CEO of World Relief and Lynne Hybels, the author of Nice Girls Don’t Change the World. The conversation turned to the oppression of women around the world and they both agreed that women are the world’s greatest untapped resource. The greatest resource the world had yet to find, was WOMEN?
I was floored and empowered and completely in awe. Women could be the thing to change the world. Suddenly, all my parents encouragement to do whatever I wanted to do, if that’s a pastor or a president or the CEO of a world changing company, came flooding back.
If only the women of the world could be given the empowerment that I was given last night!
In my project on media and it’s changing view of women, there’s a running theme that women are no more than accessories. That men still rule the world and that we merely help them along. It’s true that the Bible says that Adam needed a helper and I could make any number of men-needing-women’s-help jokes, but the reality is that every branch of feminism is fighting in a man’s world. We need to make this world a man and WOMAN’S world, to make any real change. Isn’t that how it was before the Fall in the Garden of Eden? There was no hierarchy established until AFTER the Fall.
We need to empower women, but honestly I think the secret here is in our men. To change the world from a man’s world to a world that empowers both sexes equally, we need men to help us get there. I’m definitely not a feminazi, who thinks that the world needs to swing far to the other side to make men the accessory. But I DO think we need a good amount of men AND women to make this world a healthier, more equal place. Men AND women can change the world equally, and the partnership between them is what can change the world, if only women are allowed their place to stand and lead.
World Relief is doing this great project, called the Stand/Together project that empowers women around the globe to help their villages gain good water, healthy life practices and education. It’s a monthly donation to sponsor a women to help her learn more life skills. If you’re interested go to the Stand/Together project and get involved!