IF WE WOMEN AREN’T REPRESENTED SUFFICIENTLY IN THE CHURCH, ARE WE PARTLY TO BLAME?

One of my mates is at the Lausanne Conference, and is wondering whether he should despair at the fact that the international deputy directors’ team is entirely male.

women_boardroom[1]

A (female) friend has made this comment:

‘notwithstanding some of the traditional reasons why men tend to dominate such committees (such as church generated gender roles) I think that there are also practical and ideological reasons which stem from women’s position. From my own perspective (speaking as one woman and not necessarily claiming to represent the majority) I think 1. we get more easily bored with the endless power games involved in “positioning” one’s voice in such committees. 2. Many are not willing to sacrifice their local presencing on the altar of the significant but uprooting global merry-go-round (both for practical and for ideological reasons) which seems increasingly to be a necessary part of such tasks.’

I think this is very well-put, and does in fact speak for a great many women in the church. We are amused and/or irritated and/or bored by the power-play that seems to go on, find ourselves unable to take it seriously, and would much rather get on with the job in hand.

However, I am left with my usual question. If we women opt out of these proceedings, and fail to make our voice heard, have we only got ourselves to blame if the status quo doesn’t change sufficiently to include us?

I feel a sense of ennui creeping over me …

PS. After I’d written the above I bumped into our Area Dean (parishes are grouped into ‘areas’ under a Dean) and she gave me a lift. She’s stepping down from this (voluntary) position – she says she’s sick of the politics.

QED.

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25 thoughts on “IF WE WOMEN AREN’T REPRESENTED SUFFICIENTLY IN THE CHURCH, ARE WE PARTLY TO BLAME?

  1. Sounds all rather depressing – 😦 Maybe men like meetings as it is perhaps a way for them to have get-togethers? I cannot begin to understand or imagine what they discuss but if it affects anything important there ought to be women there?
    Does it feel as if they have a sort of club for themselves and we women are just on the outside and can never get inside because we don’t get what they are doing? I don’t think men get it when women sit round and gossip either…. it’s that Venus and Mars thing isn’t it…..:))
    I’ve noticed that some men like CLIPBOARDS and brief cases and those sort of squareish stiff cases to click open and fiddle with – all sounds and looks very important.:yes:
    My dad always went off to work with a briefcase. He would leave with his briefcase containing a sandwich, a newspaper and some fruit and return with fruit and vegetable which he brought in a local market near where he worked. I suspect the best part of his day at work was lunch-time wandering round the market.:)

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    1. There are lots of complicated analyses of the male/female thing but I don’t know what they are! :)) The men have the way they want to do things all sewn up: women going in is disruptive because we work differently. But it’s very difficult if you are a lone woman to change the status quo.

      However, with more women in ministry and in leadership the status quo is changing … despite some us feeling that we can’t be bothered with it all, we’d rather just get on with the job … but is that laziness, I wonder? 😉

      How are you doing? How are the arrangements going?

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      1. Arrangements coming along bit by bit and we’ve plenty of time for them as funeral not til July 6th!!

        Re the women in the church thing. Hmmmmm….. it is so hard for women to “get in” on the men’s arrangements always, especially when their ways aren’t our ways so there feels little incentive….yes I can see that 😦

        I suppose if something really needed doing and deciding the women or a woman would be incensed or moved enough to sigh and go along and play along in order to be able to give input…. but if it is all a bit… piffling or mundane maybe it doesn’t matter? I dunno…. I used to be an expert fence-sitter 😳 but I’ve gradually grown into being opinionated at times 88|

        Is it just you that has to troll along and listen to a lot of ponitificating? 😉

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      2. I used to sit on committees and stuff but I realised that there was a sort of unwritten code thing and anything that wasn’t in ‘the code’ would be automatically discounted. So then I realised that it was largely a waste of time, which was disappointing. Interestingly, I got to chatting to some other clergy (male and female), and they had felt the same way … but none of us really knew how to change it!

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      3. I totally know what you mean…. it is very weird… had the same where I live in our community we had meetings and it is that a few bods have their own agreed agenda and are impervious to anything anybody says at the meeting… so yes… waste of time attending… but also baffling. There’ll be the chair the secretary and the finance bod and they’ll have stitched the whole thing up beforehand….. :no:

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      4. We are working REALLY hard on making sure that we don’t do that … our church council in the past has never been given proper responsibility, just handed a list of decisions to rubberstamp … with the result that nobody ‘owns’ any of the decisions or takes any responsibility for anything! So now we are going along to council and saying ‘we don’t know quite what to do about this – what do you think?’ and hoping that will elicit some response. I don’t mean we tell lies … we take along things we really don’t know how to do!

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      5. :yes: What we now do at our meetings as of last month is have the things to rubber-stamp and the “business” of the meeting whizzed through quick and then afterwards have informal discussion with a more social atmostphere so people can talk about the issues more informally and thus hopefully be more involved…….

        No idea if it will work…. we’re going to try it for a while…

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      6. I did once make some homebrew myself so I’ve done that been there seen it done it got the t-shirt and they are all still boringly going on and on and on and on….;)

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  2. Fabulous cartoon!!! Such a pity that women are not represented on decision making bodies. I think we will have to get our hands dirty or even sit through boring hours of meetings. Chicken that I am, I exempt myself from this. Many years ago I tried local political meetings but it seemed the decisions had already been made or attendance was required at two or three more meetings. Retired to do something I knew I could get on with.

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    1. Well, we are represented … but not enough, and probably because of the above opinion! I know I don’t have the patience with it, and anyway I sometimes think that by joining in with the male-dominated power games there’s a sense in which I am endorsing them.

      Glad you found something you could get on with, Silver.

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  3. I think the fact that there are clearly power struggles within the church is very off putting for non church goers…and I say that regardless of gender.

    I think in many ways we women have it right….as in what a waste of time it is sitting in committees hour after hour, often not coming to much of a conclusion, and that’s not just the church, it’s throughout every part of society.
    Is it any wonder that women don’t want to waste their precious time doing that sort of thing. x

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  4. Remember my quote of yesterday…about ‘Progress’ without ‘Change’…..Re the ‘Church’ (NOT GOD)…. job of indoctrination has been well done….endemic…even in the ‘Sacred Scriptures’…..:roll: xx

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  5. Speaking for myself, I have no wish to be in charge (or play the games which lead to that state) anywhere but my own life, but I do like to be useful wherever I am and whatever I do.

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