The need to be respected, heard, and valued reverberated in Adventist Women Leader’s recent survey. Fifty women, most of whom are departmental ministry leaders and educators, shared their responses to seven questions. Here are a few of the comments on challenges and needs women in this community face.
- “Being heard, being appreciated for what I bring to the table. I recently made a suggestion in a meeting and was greeted with nods and smiles. Later on in the meeting a male counterpart made almost the same suggestion and it was met with much more enthusiasm and sense of purpose, i.e., it was ‘let’s do that!’”
- “People deciding that because I am a mother, I should not get certain jobs even though men with children get those same jobs.”
- “Being seen as weak because I show feelings.”
- “A suppressed sense of not being able to measure up to the expectations of others.”
- “Being heard, letting the good men around me who are leaders understand their blind spots where women are concerned.”
- “The stress of taking care of the home front/family responsibilities while leading.”
- We need opportunity for advancement as there remains a glass ceiling because of ordination; understanding how to navigate difficult situations and how to speak up about concerns you have or see; having someone to talk with about the issues we face and how to handle them effectively.
- Moral and spiritual support; experienced women mentoring the younger sisters who have sensed the Spirit’s calling in their lives to various facets of leadership.
- Support and respect
- Getting a place at the table. Being valued.
- Mentoring and a forum where women can network and have better opportunities for professional growth.
- Ability to be accepted by older generations.
— Michele Joseph, managing editor, Adventist Women Leaders newsletter