I recently read America’s Women by Gail Collins. The 452 pages went very quickly, and I wished there were more as she can only depict a small fraction of the entire experience (she focused on European middle-class). Being a Gen-Xer, the struggles of equality are relatively very distant. The first time I really felt discriminated against for being a woman was in college, yet before that I had been aware of women treated differently. I’m in a still male dominated profession (ministry), worked in one before (aviation), and my husband is in one too (agricultural industry).
America’s Women should be required reading for everyone, especially Gen-X and beyond. For women, it shows us how it was and how fortunate we are. While I did not take my opportunities for granted, I am amazed at truly how much has gone into creating a society in which I have so much freedom of choice. For men, I think it would provide insight into what it is to be a woman. For everyone, it can provide inspiration in continuing to move forward.
Rachel Held Evans recently had an interview with Wendy Grisham after a week-long discussion about the role of women in relation to men. This and Trace James’s recent post got me thinking about how women have compromised themselves in order to fit into a world dominated by male characteristics, assumptions and power.
I’ve worked in a lot of different environments (corporate, legal, non-profit, government, religious, public schools, healthcare) and my husband works in agriculture. In many of these places, the status-quo was based on male-preferred ways of doing things. Being a woman in those places required compromise. In America’s Women, the pattern of women finding a place not only in the professional world and society requires a compromise (for most women) of who they are as human beings.
As a Gen-Xer who has been blessed by the efforts of women before her, I have been able to avoid most of the battle. But, inequality continues to prevail.
However, I see it a bit differently than women vs. men. We have seem to come to a point where comparing one to the other in traditional and non-traditional roles no longer fits.
Women are not men, and men are not women. In fact, women are not other women, and men are not other men.
We are all called, based on our unique characteristics (including our sexual identity) to a unique life.
Does God call us based on if and how we can procreate?
Does God call us based on who we are as Children of God?
I personally subscribe to the theology that after the Fall, life on earth was cursed with a power struggle (this includes God giving in to Israel’s request for an all-human king).
It is not that women must regain equal power, but than men and women, in the steps of Christ, need to be released from the power struggle and become servants of God.
Lord, help me to better understand Your Will. Amen.