For egalitarians, the book of Judges clearly demonstrates God’s approval of women leaders. Yet many who view women’s leadership as unbiblical dismiss the pattern of God-affirmed female authority in Judges.
We’d like to thank all the gifted writers who participated. Thank you for being brave, vulnerable, and gutsy with your stories and insights. Thank you for being way-criers for peace, healing, justice, equality, and freedom. We honor your gifts, stories, and courage.
1 Peter 3 is a tricky passage. It’s often been twisted to pressure abused women to stay with their husbands as a sign of submission. But this passage is not meant to subject women to fear or violence. Rather, the passage is supposed to encourage primary loyalty to Christ, not to husbands.
Colossians 3:7-17 is often misinterpreted and weaponized to keep women in submission and bolster sexist teachings in the modern church. Rather than viewing this text as a reframing of unjust social structures like patriarchy and slavery—as Paul intended—many interpret it as endorsing those oppressive systems.
My elementary school music teacher once asked us to count the beats in a measure of music. She ignored not only my hand, but also the hands of several other female students around me, saying, “Boys you’re supposed to be good at math. I’ll wait for one of you to answer.”
As my classmates in my current seminary courses would no doubt be shocked to learn, I was once the quiet student in the class. In fact, I was the stereotypical quiet young woman: I sat in the front row, rarely skipped, took detailed notes, and received consistently good grades. But I almost never volunteered my opinion, preferring to contribute only when asked or when I was certain of my answer.
The conversation went downhill very quickly. “I don’t know if I would be comfortable with you working for a female pastor.” Trying to avoid (yet another) debate about women pastors, I retorted: “Well the incoming pastor is male.” “It’s the principle,” my significant other threw back. Thankfully, the awkward exchange ended, and we shifted to another topic.
According to Forbes, women must obtain an advanced degree to earn as much as men for the same work. While women account for fifty-six percent of all college students in the US, they are paid eighty cents to men’s dollar for performing the same job after they graduate. The pay disparities are even greater for women of color. Women in the US are not only earning higher degrees for the same pay, but they also often face doubt about their skills compared to men both in school and at work.