While in seminary, I was asked to be part of a panel of women for a class to speak to the “women in ministry experience.” I declined, feeling at the time that my experience wasn’t unique to being a woman and that I’d largely been treated with a sense of fairness in the circles with which I worked. I could also, at 24, see that my experience of opportunity was paved by the generations ahead of me who had very different experiences – and they sat on the panel that day.
Then, just a few short years later, I encountered what these predecessors warned me of: I was outright denied the opportunity to serve a group I loved specifically and unapologetically because I wasn’t a man. I came home outraged and terrified for my girls. When I told JJ about it, his exact words were, “Wait. This is still a thing?” We left that organization the next day without regret.
Over the course of several years spent sorting baby socks and filling sippy cups, my commitment to supporting the opportunities for women continued to simmer. While I had chosen to spend the hours of my day in a particular way, centered around my babes and littles, it was easy to recognize that it was the choice in so doing that made it worth it. Rewind just a few generations ago, and endless hours of washing (dishes, clothes, hands, floors) and moving (dishes, clothes, people, toys) wouldn’t be a choice but a mandate, and doing such work would feel more like slavery than servanthood.
And while I can bask in certain freedoms, if only a few years ago I was denied a role solely because of my sex, then we’re not as far as we think we are.
Woven Yoga is a studio owned and run by women – many these women are also owning and running other organizations as well. Then when you peek inside our classes, you’ll see a large population of amazing women. So many of our classes and events center on women celebrating the roles and places we find ourselves today so that we can keep opening doors – and businesses, organizations, platforms – for our daughters, nieces and neighbors. Our work won’t be done “until there are 9” – when our world being run by women feels as normal as the fact that it’s always been run by men. Putting female faces at the helm will someday be commonplace rather than noteworthy, and I’m here for it.
Looking to add some reading about what it might take to support the role of women in society?
Cassandra Speaks (Elizabeth Lessor) – I especially LOVED what she said about providing new and more opportunity to men to fill other roles within the home. Our empowerment shouldn’t come at the expense of others, but rather opening doors for all people.
Untamed (Glennon Doyle) – she has a bit about referring to God as She that has nothing to do with sex or gender but about normalizing the sense of female value. Totes amaze.
The Sun and Her Flowers; home body (Rupi Kaur) – her poetry digs into the generational progress we feel and are making.