Diplomatic Notes

Celebrate women

In the month of March, we celebrate International Women’s Day. Women have come a long way. Historically the evolution of women in a male dominated world was initially slow but has rapidly evolved in the last few decades.

It is hard to believe that at a point in time women could not vote, had minimal rights in society, were subjected to abuse and torment as a matter of course and culture. Through valiant efforts of Bahamian female pioneers we have seen women rise to almost every level of leadership in business, politics, church and civics. We thank God for the progress and realize there is still more to be done to achieve equality.

Men and women were created equal in terms of intellect, management skills and capacity to lead. Women are not equal in terms of physical attributes and abilities. Men are not equal to women in certain capacities, men cannot have children, they do not have a womb, their breasts cannot produce milk. We are equal but not the same.

In some ways the fight for equality of women has been confused with the fight for sameness and interchangeability. I am all in for women being afforded equal opportunities and equal pay – but cannot understand how the fight for the advancement of women has in some cases been confused with the fight for gender confusion. I watched in amazement as a reporter interviewed a man who insisted that men can have children. I was in equal shock when a male who had been surgically altered was allowed to enter a women’s athletic competition.

This to me is a giant step in the wrong direction. Women should be celebrated and encouraged to achieve and not have to be confused with people who are not intrinsically women. I believe in the rights for women to participate in all aspects of life where they are as qualified as men. I do not believe women should be artificially placed in positions where they are not qualified or suited.

As a society, I believe we should also recognize the unique differences between men and women and understand that there are many things that women can do that men are capable of doing but there are physical differences that limit what each can do in an environment that are intrinsically more in the domain of the other.

We should celebrate women for being women, motherhood, partners in marriage with their husbands and contributors to their household and communities. My mother is no longer with us but I am thankful for my mother and what she was able to achieve in very difficult and trying circumstances. She tried her best to raise me and instilled Christian values – but for a time my brothers and I caused her much consternation. She was a champion, piloting her household on her own after a while, and keeping the children together for decades even when we all had our individual families.

I salute my wife who rose to the level of vice president in an international corporation and for a time served as the primary breadwinner. We worked together to achieve what we needed with neither of us comparing salaries and duties. Eventually she gave up her lucrative corporate career to run our fledgling family business because she put family first. The toll of commitment to a demanding job that required travel and time away from growing children convinced her to accept less for the sake of family. The Bible in Proverbs 31 talks about a virtuous woman whose children and husband rise up and call her blessed. To me this scripture came alive in her, she was and is that virtuous woman who can handle family, business, church and community.

My prayer is that in The Bahamas and globally we continue to encourage young women to pursue their goals and dreams unhindered by previous gender-related biases. In the process I pray that the current dynamic that elevates confusing narratives about who and what a woman is would dissipate and we return to the realization that God created us equal and different with unique abilities and roles. While some of our roles are interchangeable, others are uniquely designed by the master designer specifically for his purpose.

What happens with women should happen naturally. We should not try to get a woman to be prime minister just to have a female prime minister. It should happen organically and not artificially. No woman should be hindered from aspiring to any position they are qualified for. There should be equal pay for equal work but we should recognize that we are equal but different, and in some cases more uniquely gifted for roles that we were individually designed for. Happy belated International Women’s Day!

• Pastor Dave Burrows is senior pastor at Bahamas Faith Ministries International. Feel free to email comments, whether you agree or disagree, to pastordaveburrows@hotmail.com. I appreciate your input and dialogue. We become better when we discuss, examine and exchange.   

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