Tuesday, March 08, 2011

International Women's Day

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  (Galatians 3:28)
Today is the 100th International Women's Day.  I read a post today about what it means to be a feminist.

What do I believe?
  • I believe that women and men are equal, and should be seen as such.  We are not the same, one of us is not superior to the other.  We are equal.
  • I believe that when my role in life -- in the family, in the church, at work -- is defined by my gender, then I do not have equality.  I believe the same thing for men.  Neither of us are free until both genders are free.  Stereotypes for both must be eliminated.
  • I believe that God can call a man or a woman to any role in his kingdom.  It is not up to me to say, "You are a man; you can be called to preach while she is a female, and will not be."  God has the say.
  • I believe God calls men and women to every aspect of ministry.  He does not call based on what we define as gender roles.  I have seen the grand variety of people called to an infinite number of tasks and given an beautiful array of gifts for his work and I cannot be convinced otherwise.
  • I believe that I should live my life as I am called to live it by God, not how others may define my role because of my gender.
  • I believe that women and men should be free from harassment and oppression -- in this discussion, I would highlight freedom from oppression because of gender.  I remember when I was a kid there was a trial in the courts about a woman's right to tell her husband "no" to intimacy.  I can't imagine such a discussion even happening now. 
  • I believe in equal pay for equal work and qualifications.  I believe it is not the case in society today.
  • I believe we should raise our children to not make judgements based on gender (or ethnicity or race or ....).
I hope I live my life in a way that teaches my sons that both men and women have value in society -- that each person brings talents and gifts to each situation.  I hope they see their parents as living lives in which my husband and I value each other for who we are, not who we are "expected" to be by gender norms.  I am grateful to be married to a man who values my abilities and encourages me to use them, and I hope I do the same for him.

In the past (not now), I have been paid less than my work was worth, and I believe part of that was related to my gender.  I have been viewed as not really grasping complex, logical systems (I am a girl; I can't possibly know how electricity works), not understanding math, not understanding business.  I have been asked to the secretary because I was the only woman in a room of men.  I have been in a room where it was assumed I was the secretary because of my gender.  I have even had people conduct conversations around me because I was the wife and not the husband.  I have been in places where it was assumed that my husband would be preaching (even though he had come as my guest). 

I have been accepted as an equal.  The gifts God has given me have been accepted as valid and affirmed.  I have been invited to use them in authentic and challenging ways.  I am grateful for that.

I am grateful that I have been called by God to teach (men and women), to preach, to organize, to write, to encourage, to love and to care.  I have been called by God to be Kim.  To be me -- the best "me" I can be. 

I am a feminist.



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