This week I have been considering applying for a senior management post that I could probably do, but don’t feel confident enough to apply for. I am feeling encouraged by staff, colleagues and friends to keep going in my career, despite my own concerns about my abilities and role in life. Growing up in the 70’s I heard alot about equal opportunities but didn’t necessarily see it around me. My mum’s generation have had to be ground-breakers in making change happening, and smashing glass ceilings, all over the place. I pretty much take for granted now that if I see a job with Director in the title, it’s open to women as well as men. I don’t have to check if it’s open to women before considering the option. Nor should I if I have the right experience, knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job well.
Mum is a natural leader, and ended up in the church despite a slow start in faith. The death of my older sister in a car accident is one of the turning points she talks about, as a young mum, in coming to know God. She became one of the first women to be ordained many years later, without in a sense setting out for this to happen. Her experiences with the church of england haven’t always been positive, she’s faced considerable prejudice and disappointment, but she’s always been extremely highly respected vicar and inspirational speaker. Her work in developing youth and children’s work was ahead of it’s time, and she’s been able to mentor and support young people going through ordination training since becoming a vicar herself.
For all the women in the church who have chosen to become leaders, I think tonight’s vote in the General Synod is really sad. Change can happen from the ground up, but it can also help to be in a position where you have some “clout”, and women will always have a different and often complimentary perspective to men, that is just not being voiced at the moment. We won’t understand what a difference that could make to this country until we take a risk.
It’s not about women wanting to be ambitious or powerful necessarily, it’s more what they’ve given up for the church and how the church is thanking them. Maybe they woudl have preferred to stay home with their kids, or go into more lucrative avenues of work that would have been alot easier for their families. Sunday for my mum has never been a day of rest.
However….. nothing is impossible with God, and however upset or angry we feel, it doesn’t matter. Mattew 17 v20 has been sticking in my mind this week:
“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”