Sunday is Women’s Equality Day.
Every so often I begin to wonder if I have misjudged how bad the situation with women in our churches actually is. After all, millions of women go to church each Sunday to these churches that do not allow them to participate fully in their church. It can’t be so bad, can it?
In particular I began thinking about this as I was re-writing parts of my book Dethroning Male Headship and then this week I was asked for an email interview for Women’s Equality Day for a certain website. (I’ll share this with you if it comes out).
It is not a pretty picture that I paint.
Then something like the stupid statement of Congressman Akin makes the news and I know that he heard it from somewhere. Yesterday I came across another damning report about how girls think of themselves. The Girl Scouts Research Institute posted their findings and it is very discouraging. Read what one woman said about the Girl Scouts report on social media:
“Speaking about the worrying finding that girls with low-self esteem are more likely to sex up their images online, Orenstein, a mother whose book Cinderella Ate My Daughter comes out in February, said that the trend was a result of a “performance culture” around feminine sexuality. Orenstein expressed concern about “the way that the culture is marketing and telling girls what it means to be feminine and what it means to be a girl,” which, she said, mostly means being sexy and sexual. The result is premature sexualization and rigid, restrictive definitions of femininity. It starts early, and never ends.”
A friend said this to me: “It is so discouraging to hear how girls feel about themselves. Takes a very strong young woman to push her way through all of that.”
Ultimately, in the end, it doesn’t matter what I think about women’s equality. What matters is what girls themselves think because this will either propel them forward, or hold them back. This study by the Girl Scout Research Institute also reports that four out of five girls believe they don’t have what it takes for leadership positions. It is an attitude that is taught in fundamentalist churches and is borne out in studies such as this. Girls must begin thinking of themselves as being equal.
Equality for women begins with the girls.
Will you stand up for your daughters? Will you stand up and tell your pastors that the church should be leading out in defending girls, instead of depressing them forever behind some role that the churches think they should be limited to? Equality begins in the heart. We must see our daughters as being worthy and we must accept nothing less from our churches.