The International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world on 8th of March and is a day to reflect on how far we have come and how far we still have to go to truly achieve gender equality. This year’s theme is #BalanceforBetter and we’ve invited women leaders here at the BUV to share with you their thoughts to better the balance and better the world.
Week 2: Women need to be “Loyal Radicals”
By Gayle Hill
Head of Mission Catalyst
I grew up in an era when women had the option of being a secretary, teacher or nurse. These professions were seen as “soft” and appropriate for women. I fell into the middle category and remember my mum advocating on behalf of my sisters and I with my dad, to continue on at university and study towards this. This might seem remarkable now but the prevailing attitude at the time was, “why waste education on a girl, she’ll just get married and have children anyway”. It was an uneducated, mistaken and paternal view of the world which we would all now realise was totally counterproductive.
Look at the contributions that women have made in the 40 years since those comments. Women have become prime ministers, leaders of industry, science, business and church movements and have imparted untold significance to our society. It’s testament to both my parents that they challenged these paternal beliefs and allowed my sisters and I to express our God given talents in ways that I trust over the years, have added value to the various workplaces we have been invested in.
And so to the church today and women who aspire to be leaders, I’ll like to encourage you to help create a gender-balanced world. Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere. It is clear in the New Testament that God’s aspirations for all people and all creation is to be saved and then to be agents of reconciliation and redemption towards this end. EVERYONE’S gifts despite gender, creed or background are employed. A gender-balanced world is essential for economies and communities to thrive.
For women who are already leaders in your community, you need to be “Loyal Radicals”. The balance is to assure people that we love the church and we will always remain loyal to the gospel, and the ecclesial movements the Spirit develops. We will always be loyal and willing to serve and happily carry out (almost) any function because we love Jesus and love others. But we need to balance this with a healthy love for ourselves which honours the aspirations, capacities, call and capabilities that lie within. This is the radical part that can sometimes seem like personal advancement but as truly humble, totally devoted followers of Jesus, we must remain radically obedient to the One we call Lord and Saviour – and this might mean, even into leadership.
As a female and a leader at the BUV, I am humbled and honoured to be able to use the gifting God has given me to lead the Mission Catalyst Team while also inspiring women (and men) within our communities to work together on Mission.