While purchasing a vehicle a few months ago, I found myself talking about the ministry of CBE and my work with Pricsilla Papers with a car dealer. He responded to my description with the comment, “I do not think gender discrimination is really an issue anymore. Women have the same opportunities as men.” At that moment, I was caught off guard with his comment and did not provide a strong response to challenge his belief. However, I made a vow to myself to be ready with information the next time someone made the argument that gender discrimination has been eradicated. In her article, Funmi Para-Mallam writes, “I think part of the message the Lord has for women of this time is ‘hurry and prepare yourself’ because something is about to give and God is going to use you.” I am taking this message to heart.
Sadly, around the world many women face problems just because they are women. The organization Global Women has compiled information from sources around the world to create a portrait of women globally. Here are some facts they report:
- A majority of the world’s women are poor, and a majority of the world’s poor are women.
- There are 600 million illiterate women.
- Less than 2 percent of business leaders are women.
- Only 13 percent of parliamentarians are women, and of all the world’s ministers less than 15 percent are women, and only 5 percent of cabinet seats worldwide are filled by women.1
The need is overwhelming, which is why I am so encouraged by the work of World Hope International, represented at CBE’s international conference in August. In the face of tragedy and despair in Sierra Leone, World Hope found a way to help. In this issue, Jo Anne Lyon writes of her organization’s intervention and the surprising results. You will also find some other highlights from CBE’s conference in this issue.
If women were seen as equal to men, I believe we would not only see major improvements in their lives around the world, but we would all benefit; we would all benefit because we are meant to work together as men and women. And we need not stop at restoring basic human rights. God’s work requires all people to be free to exercise their God-given gifts, even if those gifts lead them into roles of leadership. As John Phelan writes in his article, “All God’s people are priests! All God’s people have the Spirit! All God’s people are holy!”
The next time someone tries to tell me that gender discrimination is dead, I will be prepared to respond. I hope that as you read this issue of Priscilla Papers you will be open to the ways God is preparing you to do his work.
- For more information on women around the world and the sources of these facts, please visit Global Women’s.