In church leadership I have often been the only woman in a meeting or situation. I have therefore got a heightened sense of needing to raise up women so that I am creating a doorway for others to join me. Men raise up men easier than women, so in a culture of majority male leadership, they create leaders the same as themselves. I therefore ask the question “where are the female voices/ representatives?” in situations of forming team. I create teams with an equal male-female balance where at all possible, from Student Worker interns, through to student leadership teams. I seek to intentionally introduce the Core Team leaders of my church to different up and coming female leaders in our community. If the girls are on their radar, they will use them for opportunities and thus raise them up. If male leaders don’t know them, they can’t. So I do lots of introductions!
I give away speaking engagements I can’t do to both men and women, and I look at gifting and character not gender when doing this. However, due to women being given fewer opportunities to lead, I will try and provide balance by asking the girls whenever possible. I use a lot of language around ‘family’ and ‘brothers and sisters’ and so talk and treat both men and women as ‘siblings’- thus putting them on an equal and loved standing in my life. This ‘family’ culture has been deeply effective for students ministry where there is far greater equality than in other areas of church. I make a point of publicly honouring everyone and honouring them for who they are as an individual and as God’s child. Public honour helps create an equality culture where people are valued, and not just celebrated for being young or female or male or whatever.