For Equality gives strength, in all things and at all times. Meister Eckhart.
Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of equality of the sexes. (Oxford dictionary)
To be a feminist in the context of being a follower of Jesus is to affirm diversity, protest discrimination and advocate equality for all.
The gospel of Christ compels me to wrestle with what it is to participate in the building of a more just world. As a feminist I affirm the specific worth, particular purpose and meaningful existence of all people in the world regardless of race, gender, sexual identity and socio economic status.
When Paul declared that there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:28), he was not dismissing race, gender or status in the world. Paul was advocating that a gospel of Christ proclaims that we as people in the world are ‘all one in Christ’. To argue for equality is not to suggest that people are indistinguishable from each other. It is to insist that all people are commensurate in value, purpose and meaning in the world and to object when this is not the case.
To be a feminist is to protest the blatant and persistent way people are treated with inequity in the world, one mark of which is the disparity between women and men.
As a follower of Jesus, I seek to engage in the promise of the gospel that life can be experienced as a hopeful engagement and that equality for all people in the world is not just a utopian fantasy but a goal for us all to work towards.
As a feminist, I advocate for feminism to be understood as a politic of solidarity with the gospel of hope in the world for ALL people. Now more than ever, the church can be experienced as a community of hopeful engagement in the world, a sanctuary for all people where love and acceptance in the name of Christ might be encountered.
As a feminist I believe that we can engage with one another in our differences with the assurance that our place in the world is determined by who we are in Christ, not how we are assessed as valuable or not in the context of what a particular societal construct might comprehend as important. Diversity is a word that can be more easily spoken than lived. Any politic, philosophy and social theory that assists collaborative and inclusive dialogue and aids us all in the task of loving one another and being loved, seeing each other and being seen, and hearing another person and being heard is worth generous consideration.
On 8 July, the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies will be launched at Pilgrim Theological College. This Network is an initiative of the University of Divinity and aims to foster good conversation about what it means to be a feminist in and beyond the churches today. For more information go to: http://ctm.uca.edu.au/ or join us at Facebook.
- 67% of illiterate adults in the world are women,
- 85 million girls in the world are unable to attend school, compared with 45 million boys around the world.
- 1% of the land in the world is owned by women.
- One woman (on average) per minute will die in childbirth.
- Globally, one in three women will be subjected in their lifetime to violence perpetrated by men.
- The Equalities and Human Rights Commission estimates it will take 70 years at the current rate of progress to see an equal number of female and male directors of FTSE 100 companies.