Today is International Women's Day! I am home schooling the youngest of my seven daughters, and we've been studying the Civil War era for a few weeks. There are so many wonderful books about great women.
Harriet Tubman, a hero of American history, led hundreds of fellow slaves to freedom along the Underground Railroad at great risk to her own life, and then served as a Union scout and spy during the Civil War.
Sojourner Truth, an escaped slave, toured the country speaking up for the rights of slaves and women. "Ain't I a woman?"
Harriet Beecher Stowe was, according to Lincoln, the "little woman who started the great war" with her grave depiction of slavery in her best-selling novel Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Clara Barton was not only a Civil War battlefield nurse - when most nurses were men - but also a women's rights activist and the founder of the American Red Cross. (See here.)
Mary McLeod Bethune, the first child in her family born free, started a school for former slaves.
I admire these women for their courage, not only in fighting injustice and cruelty, but also for stepping above the cultural stereotypes of what women can or should do.
The day for this kind of courage and initiative is not over. Injustice still poisons the globe and the oppression of women is particularly foul, especially when it comes to sex trafficking, domestic violence, genital mutilation, denial of educational opportunities / legal protection / adequate health care, and other serious issues. Not only that, even Western Christians are struggling with the prevailing attitudes of the church toward women.
We need the strong voice of women. Women must not be silent in the face of injustice.
So I am thankful that women's voices are rising. I hear them, and I add my own.
I'm not expert on any of this, and can't give you an exhaustive list of resources. For now, I'm only going to mention several books that have been helpful to me.
- Half the Church: Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James
- When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Carolyn Custis James
- The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough to Break the Rules by Carolyn Custis James
- Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof
(Note: This was an update of a post I wrote in 2013.)
Grace and peace,