There have been various conversations and discussions taking place over the last week and a half since Project 3:28 released the statistics about women and men on the national Christian platform. Although I wrote the report about the statistics I have been largely quiet within the conversations, mainly because my mum passed away a few days ago and so the emotional and practical challenges that has raised means I haven’t had the time or space to contribute much.
One of my observations from the sidelines of the dialogue is that there seems to be a lot of men commenting on the statistics. Ian Paul has been very vocal and has quoted various men within the pieces he has written. I am married to a man, have a son, a father and many male friends and family members, so be assured I see men’s views as both relevant and important. Yet, it is interesting that women’s voices have been less prominent within the discussion. Hannah Mudge and Vicky Walker have written excellent pieces. Yet to a large degree it has been Ian Paul’s views and those he has chosen to feature within his blogs shaping the conversation about these issues. Isn’t that a curious thing? Men being the main shapers of a conversation on women’s lack of representation?
I want to write a piece giving my thoughts on the statistics as soon as I can, but for now, I invite women to begin shaping this conversation. I briefly tweeted an experience I had in a job interview of being asked “How will you manage this role alongside having two young children?” I know any men who were interviewed for the role would not have been asked such a question. My tweet led to a few other women sharing their experiences of being asked about who was caring for their children or feeding their husbands while they were speaking at an event.
I’ll never forget an event I attended within the last couple of years where a well known Christian speaker, a man over 65, jokingly asked the (only) female event contributor (a woman in her late 20s) if he was a good kisser, to great laughter amongst the audience.
This got me thinking, the conversation needs to be shaped by women’s stories, not men’s theories. It is our lived experience as women which evidences the need for change.
Do you have a story, conversation or experience that evidences the issues women face, either in leadership, on the platform, in church or in wider society? I’m hoping to collate the stories and share them in a blog. You can request for your story to be anonymous if you would prefer. If you would be willing to share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me (@God_loves_women) or leave your thoughts in the comments section below and I’ll put something together.