The other week I was chatting with my wonderful friend Helen and her housemate. Still pyjama-clad and vaguely sleepy, the conversation moved onto single-sex Christian events and not in a good way. I felt it called for a bit of a Google of the names Christian women’s and men’s events are given. Here is a brief overview:
Activate your life
Restore and reform
Women of faith: from survival to revival
Being a Christian woman
God’s word our story
Desperate for Jesus
All Things Are Possible
God’s Leading Ladies
Gathering of Women Leaders
Valued and Thriving
Fighting the good fight of faith
A Call to Arms
Iron sharpens iron
It seems, in general, fighting is for men and feeling is for women.
I know those who run these events are passionate about what they do and that many people gets loads out of single-sex events, and not all of them are hideously bad, plus it would be unfair to invalidate whole events based on their name. The question is, are these events solely using stereotypes to attract their audience, or are they perpetuating the very boxes which restrict women and men from becoming all God is calling them to be. I’ve spoken to so many women and men who find the current single-sex conferences alienate them and leave them feeling either inadequate or under pressure to conform.
I’m not sure what the way forward is, but surely there’s got to be a better way than this…?