10 reasons i am an advocate for women's equality.

international womens day

today is international women’s day.  instead of writing the same thing with a different twist, i decided to just re-post what i wrote last year as a reminder to me, and maybe to some of you.  when we are trying to shift tides & change deeply grooved systems of inequality & injustice, we won’t be able to just say it once or twice. we will have to keep using our voice & hands & feet & hearts and play our part in change over the long haul.  i’m so thankful for the women & men who’ve gone before us, who were considered heretical & annoying but just wouldn’t stop because they knew there was a better way.  and i’m also grateful for so many of you, for your passion & willingness & courage to keep forging forward now.  it not only makes a difference today but it paves the way for those who are coming behind us, too.

here’s why i’m pro-woman, pro-equality, pro-liberation-of-half-the-population:

1. i think Jesus was.  every interaction Jesus had with women was to set them free and lift their burdens of bondage.  and he said we were supposed to be like him.  i don’t know why the church built on his name has done the exact opposite; it still baffles me.

2. women’s wisdom will make the world better.   it’s said that the same way of thinking  that got us into our problems can’t get us out.  it’s time for some new minds & hearts to get in the mix so that more creative, peaceful, collaborative solutions can be considered in our families, cities, churches, ministries, and organizations.

3. it’s good for men, too.  i don’t want things to shift to women on top & men beneath them, either.  i’m pro-equality.  our freedom is tied up together. when we learn how to be equals, alongside one another as partners, brothers & sisters, teammates, and friends, it reflects God’s image in all kinds of beautiful ways.

4.  the church should be the leader of restoring dignity and equality, instead of dragging along behind.  so i may not be able to change the whole big church but i can play my part in cultivating equality & freedom in our little one.

5. others need us to fight for their freedom.  many can’t fight.  we have liberties others don’t.  our freedom is all tangled up together.  if we stay stuck, others stay stuck. if we get free, we can participate in setting others free, too.

6.  i have to look in my daughter’s eyes.  i have a responsibility to do whatever i can to make sure she has every opportunity she deserves inside & outside of the church.  i can’t tolerate someone telling her she is less because of her gender.

7.  i have to look in my 4 son’s eyes.  they deserve equal partners who will show up, and participate in relationship instead of remain silenced and diminished.  they also deserve to be set free of the bondage of male stereotypes that limit and damage.

7.  yeah, the next generation needs us.  we can’t leave them hanging.  we have to keep paving the way, like the brave men & women before us, to make their path less & less bumpy.

8.  when we are silent, we stand on the side of the oppressor. it’s easier to play nice. it’s easier to follow the status quo.  it’s easier to stick with the crowd and keep supporting churches & the media & systems that strip dignity and freedom.  but when we do, we condone inequality and align with oppression.

9.  we must be the change we want to see.   i can’t sit around waiting for the church to change.  the kingdom isn’t going to drop out of the sky.  God uses people to change the world.

10.  freedom isn’t just a bigger cage.  liberation means full freedom in Christ, not just lesser-oppression.

my hope & prayer is that we keep learning what it means to not live under or over others; that keeps us stuck & separated & oppressed. real equality is learning to live alongside each other as human beings made in the image of God, with equal worth & freedom & voice & responsibility & possibility.

happy international women’s day!  here’s to women around the world stepping into who they were meant to be.  here’s to men around the world working to create equality. oh, the beauty that can come if we learn what it means to be together as equals, as friends, as lovers, as co-laborers, as co-creators.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

15 Comments

  • I liked it last year, and I like it again. So good and so true. Thanks for sharing it again!

    Reply
  • Based on the written record we have of what Jesus said and did, he was radical in so many ways, including the way he treated women. Did the men who wrote down the Jesus stories exaggerate? – If anything, given when they wrote and to whom they wrote, I suspect they tended to understate/tone down just how radical he was for his day.

    There always have been and always will be those who consider themselves “better than”, an attitude which requires those who are “less than”, whether that be women, racial minorities, the poor, LGBTs, the elderly, those who hold opinions that do not agree with our opinions and so on.

    Jesus, on the other hand, God-in-flesh, came to serve, not to elevate himself above anyone. When anyone uses Jesus to make themselves better-than anyone, they’ve invented a whole ‘nuther Jesus, the one who tells them they are better-than.

    Reply
  • It is true that throughout history, men have been in positions of power and privelidge. And for those that have been given much, comes much responsibility. When people in positions of power and privelidge use thier freedom to opress others instead of doing what is good for all then that is totally unacceptable.

    Some important work have been done in temrs of emancipation of women and needs to keep being done until all women expreance release from patriachal opression, free to be the women they are in their fullness and thriving, living life to the full.

    In George Orwells classic novel “Animal Farm” animals are ruled over by an opressive farmer. The animals unite and liberate themselves form the opresson with strong advocates in the pigs. All animals are considered equal. The pigs decide they whould be the leaders of the animals. After all the pigs are the most intelligent, therefore the most enlightened and what good would it do for the rest of the animals for them not to be the leaders, right? The novel ends with the pigs forming their own club and opressing the rest of the animals in the way the farmer used to.

    For all of us whatever opression we have faced we need to have awareness of what difficulties we bring to situations, such that we without intending to don’t end up abusing the freedoms we have and acting in a similar way to those who have opressed us. Only when we have healthy self – criticism and are willing to address in principle our own difficulted we birng as well of those that others bring will we achieve equality, men and women as frineds, mutually submitted, not one over the other.

    Reply
  • Love this, and it is a good reminder to stop before taking progress for granted. I personally don’t feel, in any way, less than way due to gender in our community. I often forget how it is not like that “out there”, and sometimes when I encounter sexism nowadays, it is kind of jarring. Often times it is in networking…..which is why I no longer entertain certain venues. Like, oh yeah, it still exists, and despite progress and growth, it is still really pervasive in our greater faith culture.

    I was talking to my clinical director at work, and we were talking about how my former boss made it very clear that he was not a fan of her. I really respect her as a leader, and she had said, in reference to the reputation from my former boss, ‘The thing is, I am not afraid to be female.” Yes. I am going to continue to lean into my healing, thus creating the hope for more freedom, and therefore creating the potential for the generation behind me to have more courage to fight for *their* healing paths. Because if I feel worth it, that can only translate into good things for other girls down the road.

    Reply
  • So well said, Kathy!! YES our freedom is tied up with each other. Yes on ALL of the above post! Oh please keep on sharing this with love and grace like you do. Hugs and peace 🙂

    Reply
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