Gender Issues in Leadership: You’re a Bossy Rebellious Woman and He is a Good Leader By Crystal Schmalz
Let’s have a heart to heart discussion on why some cultural characteristics are attributed to men and others to women, especially as it relates to leadership.
In some settings, if a man is a go-getter, goal setter, outspoken, bold, and takes command of a room they are typically considered a good leader. In some settings if a woman displays these same characteristics she is accused of trying to act masculine, rude, and too ambitious (not a compliment). Why is this? Women are natural leaders too, and characteristics like goal setting, boldness, confidence, and ambition are human characteristics not male characteristics.
As a female in leadership, “cultural traditions” really bother me. The whole you need to play the piano, cook dinner, sit quiet and submissively on the pew, and dress like a modest “model” really annoys me. First off, I like playing the piano, but it is not my natural gifting. My calling is to preach, teach, and pastor. My husband likes to cook and can cook better than me. I do the laundry and he cooks. We split household chores up, based on our personal preferences and we chose to work together instead of having one person in the marriage do all the chores. I am not really a quiet person when it comes to issues of injustice. I believe in humility, and being meek, but I do not believe these are inherit gender specific characteristics and “roles/ways of being.” Both women and men need to be humble and meek at different points and seasons in life. I can be a rather bold, brassy, opinionated, and confident woman at times. I am not trying to “act” like a man. I am a woman. When I was growing up, it seemed like the only thing women thought about was getting married and having children. Well, I had other goals. I wanted to go to college and have an education. When we box women or men into certain expectations we hurt them. I know several women and men who are bitter and angry because they did not get to go to school, go on study abroad trips, travel around the world, and are stuck working two jobs because their wife/husband does not have the skills to help provide an income for the family.
I believe in submission, as in I believe in the Biblical definition of submission: every person should be submitted to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21). First, I believe we should be submitted to God (James 4:7). If we have an issue, we need to submit ourselves to God first. Second, I believe we should be submitted to the leadership God has placed in our lives, and respect our elders (Hebrews 13:17). Everyone needs a leader in their life, a mentor, and a friend who can help give them advice. This does not give leaders the right to be spiritually abusive, controlling, or act like a dictator toward people (1 Peter 5:1-11). Don’t dominate, but be an example in your leadership. We also need each other and our community. We should be able to go to one another and say “I’ve noticed you have been wandering a little lately, is there anything I can do to help?” We need the body of Christ in our life. We need to submit ourselves to each other, and be willing to hear words of conviction from our sisters and brothers. Third, if you are married, scripture says both the woman and the man should be submitted to each other (1 Peter 3, Colossians 3). Neither person in the marriage partner should be controlling, and try to over assert their authority. Both the woman and man need to submit to each other, and learn to work together. There may be some natural giftings and talents each person has in the marriage, and they might agree to split up tasks in that way. However, one person’s dream and calling is not better or more important than the other person’s dream and calling. Hopefully in a marriage, the two dreams and callings can go together, but a woman’s calling is not greater than the man’s calling, and the man’s calling is not greater than the woman’s calling. Both are important in the Kingdom of God, and couples will be responsible to God for how they help each other’s callings. Submission is a necessary component of leadership, but we must always look at the Biblical message of submission as opposed to some of the cultural interpretations of submission.
Honestly, it is going to be hard to change gender cultural interpretations and traditions. They have existed for many years, and are passed down from generation to generation. The message I want you to hear today, is that if you are woman in leadership and ministry God has made you this way. You are not an accident. You are not a problem. You are a gift from God for the Church. Your voice is important. The way you are and do ministry is important and valuable. You might be loud or quiet, extroverted or introverted, or bold or shy. God made you the way you are, and the Church needs to accept this. It is okay to be a mother and it is okay to not have children. It is okay to get married and it is okay to remain single. Think about the natural gifts and talents God has given to you, and treasure them. Develop your talents, and use them for the Kingdom. Do not be afraid of what God is calling you to be and do. Walk in the power and authority of God, both women and men! Both valued and appreciated for their gifts, callings, and personalities!
Copyright 2015 Crystal Schmalz Ministries