"Ending sexism and including women fully in every aspect of society not only ends its own great evil— the oppression of women— but also is part of the solution to the rest of the world's problems. Until women are deeply involved in opposing the violence in the world, we are not going to bring it to an end. All women must be equally at the forefront of the movement for social justice. . .Unleashing the power of women has the potential to transform our world in extraordinary and many as yet unimagined ways." -Desmond Tutu (God Has A Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Future)
As the first woman licensed and ordained in a historic Baptist church in Indiana, I experienced the honor of breaking the “stained glass ceiling,” however I also experienced many internal and external challenges. I learned quickly that “having a seat at the table” was a difficult seat to navigate, especially when I was the only woman at the table. Even my well-meaning counterparts often overcompensated for my presence by treating me like a damsel in distress instead of a woman who just so happened to be called to ministry.
It wasn't only men who struggled with embracing my presence and gender equity in preaching ministry. I remember vividly one Sunday morning when I arose to preach and several women (yes women) walked out the church. The very group I had looked to for support turned their backs and marched out the doors to the church. That experience was a lesson for me in the impact gender-defined roles have in male dominated vocations, professions and society. There is still so much we all must learn in our effort at creating an equitable world.
While gender equality allows for women like myself to enter into male dominated spaces, it is not enough. Gender equality merely ensures a balance; gender equity is the avenue for helping women reach their fullest potential. "Gender equity works to correct the historical wrongs that have left women behind (such as societal restrictions on employment). Gender equity means giving women the tools to succeed. A focus on equity bridges the gaps in equality through laws and policies and gender-focused programs that don’t just level the playing field, but also work to change the culture to be more supportive of women (Binagwaho, 2020)."
In this 21st Century, let's end the oppression and inequities that target women and ultimately trickle down to their households. Let's work together to create a just, inclusive, and equitable faith-based community and society.
Binagwaho, A. (n.d.). The difference between gender equity and equality—and why it matters. Fortune. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from https://fortune.com/2020/03/25/gender-equality-and-equity-iwd-womens-education/
Life After Seminary: Women Serving in Ministry
Rev. Anastasia and Rev. Rebecca discuss finding voice in ministry.