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?