International Women’s Day on Tuesday March 8th will recognise and appreciate the contribution and worth of women and girls, and also remind us all how far we have left to go, to achieve equality. Christian women want to show how equality is a Biblical truth as well as a social good.
Amanda Jackson, who heads the Women’s Commission of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) which represents half a billion women across the globe, said this week, “The Church is taking more notice of the concerns of women, but women in churches tell me they are exhausted emotionally and physically after two years of Covid. They yearn to have a voice.”
The General Secretary of evangelical churches in Bangladesh, Rev Martha Das knows that women still face struggles in her nation and that International Women’s Day gives an opportunity to talk about basic freedoms. “Until all women are treated as human beings created in the image of GOD, we need to observe International Women’s Day.”
Women can effectively reach out to offer hope to women in vulnerable situations. Fatima Oliva Roca, leader of the Women’s Commission of Latin America highlighted that International Women’s Day is a chance to talk about issues on God’s heart. “Even today there are women who suffer marginalization and abuse. The Bible exhorts us to speak on behalf of the voiceless, and for the rights of all who are vulnerable (Pr. 31:8).”
Women’s Commissions in Asia, the Caribbean and Europe are community focussed. Many women lead responses on issues that impact women and girls like poverty, gender persecution, trafficking, and families at risk.
In the last year, the Women’s Commission has been able to encourage a new network of Christian experts to end domestic abuse (CNEDA): sharing resources and practical ideas as well as Biblical material on healthy relationships. The need is great. Despite domestic violence laws in many nations and growing public awareness, abuse is still rising and 904 women die every week at the hands of abusive ex/partners (UN figures from 2020).
“International Women’s Day is an annual chance to celebrate the women who are the backbone of local churches, and not just take them for granted“, Amanda Jackson says. “We can take time to recognise the gifting of women in the Church and encourage them as teachers of the Word, intercessors, finance directors, mentors and Bible study leaders.”
This year, all churches across the world are being encouraged to adopt action points from the „Call to All Christians“ and to commit to initiatives that come at the end of that document. Thomas Schirrmacher, the CEO of the World Evangelical Alliance, says, “The Call offers hope for the ways the Church can follow Jesus’ example in transforming relationships between men and women.”