On election night last fall my children and I were driving home together. I was listening to election returns on NPR and took the opportunity to talk about elections with my kids. My daughter, Helen, had just turned 6 and my son, Patrick, was 3 1/2. Patrick made some comment about what it means to be a President. I explained a few things about it and then said, “and someday you could be President, Patrick, if that’s what you want to do. You too, Helen.”
It was quiet in the back seat for a while so I assumed we were just about done talking about elections and politics. Then Helen piped up, in an incredulous tone, “Girls can be Presidents?”
It is no exaggeration to say that this question nearly broke my heart. I had tears in my eyes when I told her that, yes, girls can be Presidents and that if that is her dream I would support her 100%.
So that’s what I’m thinking about on this International Women’s Day. It’s true that women in the United States have it pretty good, that significant strides toward equality have been made. But obviously the battle has not been completely won, if a six year old still has to ask if “girls can be Presidents.”
I want to move my focus, though. Yes, I think there are still things to be done in the United States. But those things pale in comparison to the things that need to be done in other parts of the world. According to the United Nations, 50% of worldwide sexual assaults are committed against women under 16; 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not a crime; 70% of women worldwide report having experienced some kind of violence in their lifetime. (See more here.) Violence against women is a real problem.I think there are many good reasons to fight to end violence against women. But here’s the top reason: violence against women grieves the Lord.
Isaiah 10:1-2 “Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees, and the writers who keep writing oppression, to turn aside the needy from justice and to rob the poor of my people of their right, that widows may be their spoil, and that they may make the fatherless their prey!”
Can you imagine what God thinks when He sees the things we do to one another? Can you imagine how He feels when He sees one of His image bearers raped, molested, beaten, or maimed? Can you imagine how He is grieved over the one who does the violence?
So, I said at the beginning that this blog would be about combining faith and action. In moments like these, I hardly know where to begin. What can I possibly do that would make a difference when the problem is so large? I don’t know. But the most important thing you can do is pray and in those prayers, pray that God would open your eyes to the things you can do. Pray that you would be aware of the women in your own community who are trapped in difficult or dangerous situations. Pray that you would be able to use your resources in ways that don’t add to the problems (this means being aware of modern day slavery and considering how the things you buy are produced before you buy them). Pray that God would be glorified in whatever you do.
“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10