Tuesday, October 6

Thank you Linda Howell and Tammy Thomas...

While in a class, my professor started a sentence on a touchy subject with the line... "don't quote me on this or I'll deny it". Now when ever somebody says that you should get out a pen and jot down not only what they say but the date and time as well. Not really, but what followed seemed to not only shock me but hurt my heart. It was in a class on Leadership and the comment was to the effect of 'A man can work for a woman, a woman can work for a man, a man can work for a man, but a woman can not work for/with other women.' It took me a minute to let it set in. The professor then went on to explain why. I was not angry (like some other women in my class appeared to be), I was not "fuming" as the guy sitting behind me thought I might be... I was actually more hurt. The professor went on to say that through many many years of experience, seeing many women working together and how hard it was for them, that the statement was true and "just the way it is".
In some ways, sadly, I agreed with him. I have seen many groups of women act just as he was describing and it was not pretty and I could not stand it. On the other hand, I have seen many woman, leading strong, with character, confidence, purity, and the heart of God. These women like, Linda Howell, Leader of the Women's division for NLI (Next Level International), a leadership training for women all over Europe and Tammy Thomas Women's Director for NOW women's ministry, both of whom work with many women and do so very well. Now there are problems that arise for sure but not due to the fact that women are working together but because people are working together and people can be messy.
Over all I think the reason this statement hurt so much was because I felt like it devalued these women and many others like them. Statements like these cling to a stereotype and not to the truth. Secondly, it perpetuates the stereotype, not only with men but with women as well which leads to more unhealthy situations because that is what is now expected. Lastly, in this class at a Bible College, in a ministry program, there were some women (including myself) in the class, and the message it sent to these women, who are already leading in some capacity in various ministry positions and are planning on continuing to follow the call of God in that area, is that women can't lead women with out it being a hellish experience and that is just how it is.
The intent of this blog is not to put any bad light on the professor who made this comment, in all honesty I continue to admire and respect this professor. I did need to process why this comment hit me so hard. I also wanted to say yet another Thank You to all of the women I have had the opportunity and honor to serve under or with! Most of my experiences have been positive and have shown me healthy examples of women serving with other women in leadership while demonstrating the heart of God. For that I am truly grateful!