We started with a discussion on our understanding of the concept of Feminism? Words such as ‘equal’, ‘no discrimination’, ‘not just a women’s movement’, ‘women with equal opportunities’ were suggested. Val Webb suggests that its more akin to ‘a personal experience to infer the divine’. [This contrasts with male-created doctrines imposed on women especially ‘sin’ and its remedy of self giving love, ignoring one’s own interests and seeking only other’s good. In Webb’s view women are too submissive, rather than asserting their own personhood. ]
Paul, as expressed in the biblical writings, had a very negative attitude towards women and this has been reflected in Church structures and theologies. We noted that women are much more open about their feelings and relationships compared with men who tend to focus on more impersonal, practical aspects.
The Bible contains many stories of powerful and influential women; many of Jesus’s friends and followers were women. We agreed that to be a credible voice in today’s society, we need to be much more aware of gender neutrality and avoid stereo-typing the sexes.