Women in Leadership

In March this year Di Feldman facilitated a gathering of women in leadership, a combined Baptist and Churches of Christ initiative. At this event the question was posed: What are issues for Christian women in leadership?

This was, of course, like releasing the floodgates.

A selection of responses is included below:

-Grappling with multiple roles and competing priorities: mother, daughter, wife, friend, Christian leader.
-Finding healthy boundaries.
-Loneliness: there is a need for a supportive peer group outside the local church, having someone who can listen to confidential matters, someone safe to process difficult issues with.
-Finding women mentors and role models can be difficult, especially at more senior levels.
-Some church cultures can be stifling for women… some men have difficulty with women in leadership…. some women “put the brakes” on other women in leadership.
-Recognition, respect, affirmation.
-Internal barriers: “I can’t do that”, “women can’t do that”, perfectionist expectations, unrealistic expectations.
-“Invisible woman syndrome” (eg;s women with leadership potential don’t get noticed; if a woman says it it’s ignored, if a man says it there’s a response).
-Access to appropriate training in different life stages.
-Busyness of various life stages: responsibility for young children, responsibility for ageing parents.
-“Double shift” in work /ministry and domestic responsibilities.
-How to pass the baton successfully and to invest in others when already busy.
-Cultural factors that encourage women to be “fluffy”; to be in the background; to not take their leadership seriously.
-Patronising behaviour and jokes.
-Singleness (and divorce) in a church culture where the majority are married can be difficult.
-Christian professional women may get little support or understanding from their local church if not in a recognized “Christian” ministry.

So what issues jump out for you as significant ones for women in leadership?

And importantly… what are your ideas about what might make a difference to these issues?


espanola said…
Hi, i appreciate this opportunity to comment and converse. Although i might have a more basic situation than most - my husband has turned against most christian beliefs while still calling himself a christian.
Janet Woodlock said…
Wow espanola... it sounds like this is difficult for you, and that your expectations of your husband, and your expectations of what your life together might look like, have taken a beating.

Would you be happy to share more of what this is like for you? Which beliefs has he rejected? How does this make you feel? What other impacts does it have on your family?

I will pray for you.
AbiSomeone said…
Janet...what a great listing! I'll be pondering this...pondering it right now, with a number of others, as a matter of fact.

I'll get back to you...
Janet Woodlock said…
Well... I await your feedback with interest! I'd be interested to see how "cross cultural" this is too, as this is feedback collected from a group of Australian (Melbournian) women.
AbiSomeone said…

I found your list to be completely consistent with what I know is reality in the U.S.

This is a HUGE topic...and something that might be worth setting out one issue at a time. Say, one issue a week or something like that. Otherwise, it is just too overwhelming to randomly clump all the issues together!

Have you heard of RevGalBlogPals? Might be something to look into...

I'll try to find the link...one of my new friends was talking about it recently.
AbiSomeone said…
Okay, here's the link. You should find it interesting. There is a three month active blogging requirement to join, so neither of us are eligible...yet!



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