Wednesday, 23 October 2013
Of religion and female leadership
The first question that comes to most peoples’ minds when someone speaks about equality is what does the Bible says about it?
Female Students Network has found out that many female students shun leadership because they say the Bible disapproves of women leaders. They say in the Bible, most of the leaders where men, hence being a female leader is going against the Book of Life.
Some female students even refuse to support their fellow females on the basis of religion.
They sat the Bible says men are the heads and they interpret this to say men should be the leaders and women should follow. Since men are the heads, they carry the brains which think for the whole body, so they say.
But what exactly does the Bible say about women and leadership? Where does it precisely place women? The Bible says God created the woman as a "helper" for the man:
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." (NIV, Genesis 2:18)
However, being a "helper" does not imply that the woman was inferior or subservient to the man. In fact, God created both men and women in His own image and made them equal custodians of all his creation.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 2:27-28)
Compared to other cultures of the time, Jewish women enjoyed great liberty and esteem, and many women distinguished themselves as prophetesses and leaders in Jewish society. Women such as Deborah, Esther, Hannah, Miriam, Rachel, Rebekah, Ruth and Sarah played important and decisive roles in Israel's history.
Women in the Bible occasionally held strong positions. Esther, for example was put in a position where her influence could help Israel.
Women often held influential positions in the Bible. Deborah was a great prophetess who was also a leader in Israel (Judges 4: 1- 5:31).
Modern times have seen several outstanding female national leaders, including Israel’s Golda Meir, who successfully ruled Israel from 1969 to 1974. Since we know that God ordains all leadership—“For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Romans 13:1).
Generally speaking, God designed men for positions of leadership but apart from leadership in the church and family, which is given to men alone, the Bible doesn’t expressly forbid women to participate in other positions of leadership.
As evidence of the equality of men and women, the Ten Commandments require children to honour both their father and mother:
"Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. ( Exodus 20:12)
God created both men and women in His own image and made them equal custodians of all His creation. But, because of their disobedience, God punished Adam and Eve and evicted them from the Garden of Eden. Eve's punishment was to suffer pain in childbirth and be ruled over by her husband.
Jesus broke with tradition and treated women in a much more egalitarian way than was normal in the society of that time. The early Christian churches followed Jesus' lead and gave women much higher status and more privileges than was common in the rest of the world.
Christians disagree over whether this principle should apply in the modern world. Is the man's authority over his wife and family a great spiritual principle decreed by God for all time, or is it, like the Bible's teachings about slavery, just a reflection of the realities of Biblical-era culture?
Today, many Christians believe women should enjoy all the same rights and privileges as men. Other Christians, however, continue to advocate a secondary role for women based specific Bible passages
The men is not said to be the leader but the head of the family. In an organisation, institution or a country, a woman can also be a leader.