by Sarah Kime
In 1975, the United Nations declared 8th March as International Women’s Day. Year after year, this day is commemorated to celebrate womxn and those identifying as womxn, in all their diversity, strength and beauty. However, this day also highlights the continual struggle for womxn who are massively discriminated against solely and purely based on their gender. This manifests within every sphere of the lives' of womxn and so of course, here at Womxn in Theology, we are greatly aware of some of the prejudices that we ourselves face or are likely to face as we progress in the field of academia.
Within Theology specifically, I find it interesting to look at womxn in the bible who had no voice in certain situations. The matriarchal figure, Sarai/Sarah in the Bible, was seen to have no voice in crucial moments of the Biblical text, such as when her husband Abram/Abraham handed her over to be taken as wife to Pharoah. For many contemporary readers, this scene is distressing. Sarai is seen to have no voice or input in this decision, and maybe one interpretation of this is that she was fearful of her life so was too scared to speak up.
You might be reading this like, how is this relevant to a blog post about International Women’s Day? Well, let me tell you just one reason out of the many reasons there are! This specific reference to the Biblical text is so relevant today, not merely for those of the Judeo-Christian faith. It highlights the every-day reality for womxn, who are fearful for their lives, in case of persecution, discrimination or mistreatment. As said above, this day celebrates womxn for all that they are, but it also highlights issues that are still ongoing, and which need brought to justice. Biblical texts such as this one found in Genesis; is vital in the relevancy it still has today, in highlighting how far womxn have come in many countries in the world. However, it also highlights the continual detriment to womxn in other less fortunate countries.
I count myself lucky that I have a voice and I can use it freely in my country, regardless of my gender. It is so important on this day, to remember that as womxn, we have power to change our world. We can speak up and advocate for change within our sphere of work and lives. On this day, let us celebrate all that we are as womxn and find ways in which we can champion on and encourage other womxn in our network of friends, families, and colleagues. I want to leave you with this message from the International Women’s Day’s theme:
“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias" **
* *"International Women's Day 2022 Theme: Break The Bias". 2022. International Women's Day. https://www.internationalwomensday.com.