Monday, November 21, 2011

women finding voice in historically male gatherings

Has anyone got any useful resources
– personal experience
– research they’ve come across
– books they’ve read
– people they’ve heard
– processes they’ve experienced
on what it means for historically male dominated institutions to learn and re-learn ways of being that free women to fully find their voice?

I’m not thinking simply about equal representation, but the deeper issues around the ways genders form relationships, and relate, the ways issues are processed, what it means for folk to learn from, yet not remain in, prior history?

Posted by steve at 04:11 PM


  1. reminds me of conversations with Jenny Baker in London in 2008 – she spoke at Greenbelt and with us about how emerging church doesn’t seem to have a theology of anti – women in leadership, but that women’s voices were (are) still not being heard … why is that, and what can we do to be heard, without having to behave according to male paradigms ??

    there’s some thinking on these issues I’ve gathered along the way, links etc., in posts on my blog – not sure if it’s what you’re looking for … but here it is for what it’s worth

    Comment by sarah — November 22, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  2. thanks Sarah.

    Some else on twitter has suggested another resource, Schussler Fiorenza : Discipleship of Equals: A critical Feminist Ecclesia-logy of Liberation,


    Comment by steve — November 22, 2011 @ 11:07 am

  3. Deidre Palme is good value on this.

    Comment by craig — November 22, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  4. oh, this was another thought that emerged out of the recent tellings I did at synod. since you’re asking for experiences …

    Comment by sarah — November 22, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

  5. A couple of blogs by local women in leadership:

    Comment by Linda — November 22, 2011 @ 3:59 pm

  6. (and of course there is Sarah’s blog, as she mentioned!)

    Comment by Linda — November 22, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

  7. It is deeply anointing and richly fruitful to work in true partnership within the church ~ in my own personal experience I have been blessed to know this working dynamic alongside some wonderful men and women. My one immediate reflection would be that in every one of these working relationships it has been the man who has created the environment to ‘allow’ collaborative working to happen. However much we as women may desire depth in relationships and processing, in my experience, that only happens when a humble, secure, Godly and spiritually generous man enables and empowers that ideal. There may be some theology to unpack about the role of ‘permission giving’ men.

    I think there is also a lot to plunder with regard to personality and prayerful kinship which is outside of gender. Processing issues etc is often about temperament, emotional sensitivity and thought patterns which are often masked by gender stereotyping; sometimes because both men and women can appear to conform to stereotypes. Tools such as Belbin and Enneagram can help to diffuse these misconceptions and enable people to work together as individuals within a team rather than being shaped to perceived gender roles. I sense there is also something here about people feeling safe when men and women behave in ways that appear to be ‘right’ and anything which challenges that is deeply disturbing of an accepted and manageable world view.

    We also need grace and joy in bucket loads to accept that we are just different! .. that we won’t always understand each other but that’s ok 🙂

    Comment by Nel — November 22, 2011 @ 8:44 pm

  8. Great book: ‘From the pews in the back: Young women and Catholicism’

    Explores young Catholic women’s relationship to an often male-oriented church but well balanced – both the struggles and the deep joy. Written as a collection of stories/reflections/essays. Perhaps a different type of emerging church is evidenced too with a very strong action-based, social justice feel. As a woman found it to be both challenging and uplifting!

    Comment by Lauren — November 25, 2011 @ 11:41 pm

  9. thanks all. really useful range of resources – books, people, links. thanks for taking the time


    Comment by steve — November 26, 2011 @ 9:00 am

  10. A few years back I read ‘Voices of this Calling’, edited by Christina Rees – full of first person testimonies by the women themselves about the first 10 years of women priests in the Church of England. It was excellent – so much so I’ve lent it and since lost touch with who has it.

    Comment by Simon — November 28, 2011 @ 12:38 pm

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