One of my friends recently posted an article to Facebook from a website called “Ladies Against Feminism” — which claims to be a Christian-affiliated website. I was so peeved by this website that I am dedicating this post to the women over a hundred years before us that fought for our rights.
First of all, I would like to link to a copy of the “Declaration of Sentiments,” the initial document (year 1848) formatted after our Declaration of Independence demanding equal rights for women. Please read it here — it is short, to the point, and very moving.
Here is a summary of the situation of American women at that time:
- Married women were legally dead in the eyes of the law
- Women were not allowed to vote
- Women had to submit to laws when they had no voice in their formation
- Married women had no property rights
- Husbands had legal power over and responsibility for their wives to the extent that they could imprison or beat them with impunity
- Divorce and child custody laws favored men, giving no rights to women
- Women had to pay property taxes although they had no representation in the levying of these taxes
- Most occupations were closed to women and when women did work they were paid only a fraction of what men earned
- Women were not allowed to enter professions such as medicine or law
- Women had no means to gain an education since no college or university would accept women students
- With only a few exceptions, women were not allowed to participate in the affairs of the church
- Women were robbed of their self-confidence and self-respect, and were made totally dependent on men
These rights are so simple, so basic — it’s hard to believe that women had never before had any of these rights. This year is only the 100th year anniversary of women’s right to vote in California.
I believe women are still feeling the repercussions of the centuries of inequality that has taken place before us. Women still earn less than men in 99% of all occupations. Even worse is the fact that the more education a women has, the greater disparity in her wages compared to men. This means that over an estimated 47 years of full-time work, women can expect an estimated $700,000 loss of wages for high school graduates, 1.2 million for college graduates, and 2 million loss of wages for professional school graduates. See more facts here
I believe one of the most evil lies from the enemy that circulates around the church is the idea that the main role of women is to cook and clean and look pretty. I’ve come across this idea so frequently that women’s only use is in the home. And while I agree that raising children in a godly way is of the utmost importance, I believe it can be very damaging to have daddy away from home so often working that the child is raised in an unbalanced way. We need our fathers just as much as our mothers.
I would also like to add that this “housewife” image is not healthy for teenage girls. They grow up thinking that their life cannot start until they get married, which brings an unnatural pressure on her to marry herself as soon as possible. It also adds to their pressure to be physically attractive — because if they cannot attract a man, they will be shamed by the church because they cannot become the Christian “housewife” ideal.
I think this indoctrination comes back to bite women later on in life also. When she has succeeded to marry herself, reproduce, and raise her children, what else does she do once they are gone? Caring for the husband alone appears to be a deathly boring and unstimulating position when there are no children involved — she has already conquered much greater challenges. Then comes the mid-life crisis. What is my purpose, what is my goal? she wonders. She hopes for grandchildren.
…Whereas, if this woman was raised in her teenage years to pursue her true purpose and find her own personal goals — whether that include home-making or not — I believe this woman would feel much better about herself and not look back at her life with regrets. We should validate young girls’ dreams (as we do boys) of becoming a pilot, a marine biologist, a doctor, a teacher, a president.
Women are people, divinely created by God to carry out his purposes. They have incredible influence in society, in the work-place, in the economy, in leadership, in government, in churches, and in their families. To diminish her God-given talents to baking that damn good pie or pressing that shirt to perfection is an insult to the woman herself and to her Creator.