A few months ago, someone invited me to be on a panel. They had two men, they told me, and wanted to make sure they included diverse voices. I declined, but suggested another (phenomenal) woman. They didn’t invite this other woman, and the panel ended up including three white men.
Which is a tiny little blip on the world’s monitor of gender justice, right?
A few years ago, I was part of a planning committee for a regional event. I suggested we invite a (phenomenal) woman to be a keynote speaker. “Well,” others said, “she just doesn’t really connect with our people here.” We didn’t invite her, even though I – the one who had suggested her – was born and raised and working as part of the aforementioned “our people” “here.”
Another tiny blip.
Have you ever noticed that the memes about pastors on the internet always use “he” and “him” pronouns?
Blip. Blip. Blip.
Did you know that the Church of the Brethren denominational staff is led almost exclusively by men? Did you know that only 23% of CoB congregations have a female pastor?
Have you heard that girls who grow up in a congregation with a female pastor – not even one they’re close to, not even one who cares directly for them or their family – end up with higher self-esteem, more education, and better earnings?
No wonder they work so hard to keep us out of visible leadership positions. What would happen if more girls grew up respecting themselves and insisting that others do the same?
(I’ve mostly given up on trying to change this particular institutional system, but if you are still invested in that kind of thing, you could, I don’t know, invite a woman to preach, host a woman to lead your congregational retreat, refuse to participate in events and organizations that refuse to honor women’s leadership. You know, for a start.)