Over the past few weeks I thought a lot about how to encourage women in leadership. Well, surely you will say, this is not something new to me, and it is true, but I wonder if I need to take further action steps.
Where are the spaces I can offer to female leaders to learn and grow? Which stages can I share with young female leaders?
Is it may be time to offer training for women to join boards and governance bodies?
A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak at a conference for theological schools. Four men were asked for the main stage and there were four plenary sessions. Meaning, not a single woman speaker. I was asked to join and offer a workshop.
Mind you, the three men who were asked to deliver the main topics are fantastic guys I know personally and sitting under their feet is always a highlight and treat. But did I want to join a conference where once again women had no space on the stage?
I know the conference organizer did not do it deliberately but it led me to make a decision which I share openly now and I know it might upset some. In my struggles to wanting to encourage women to take on the God-given platforms I cannot support events where they are given none. And I checked my heart. It was not about me not getting the stage – and only being asked to give a workshop, no, it was because I felt offended for the other women I invest into.
I no longer want to support a system where women get lesser chances and opportunities and just accept the roles men/churches/event organisers etc. might give us.
I plead with churches and event organisers to encourage women to serve on all platforms, according to their callings and giftings. I want to be part of an organism which treats people equal and does not judge according to gender.
So here is my conclusion and commitment:
If I will be asked to speak somewhere and there is no female speaker up on stage, I cannot commit speaking at this event.
Will it cost me some speaking opportunities in the future? Will I be banned? We will see! But for the sake of a young and gifted generations of leaders, male and female, I cannot go back to the old ways.