Caryn Walsh

Christian conference attendees walk out after speakers suggest women should grow their hair long and defer to men at work

ABC News reported that last weekend several thousand Australian women flocked to an evangelical Christian conference in Sydney, devoted to what it means to be a ‘godly woman.’ And part of that is having ‘long hair.’

A point was made by a keynote speaker, Ms Read, Dean of Women at the Presbyterian Christ College in Sydney that, ‘it might be more in line with God’s good design to have long hair because it was a visible sign of the difference between men and women in which God delighted.’

During this Conference, attended by approximately 3000 women, another concept evolved that women should consider themselves as ‘helpers’ of men in the workplace.  It was also reported that one speaker remarked that if a woman was/is a CEO ‘she should perform her role in a way that was helpful to men’.

In addition, a video was shown in which a female minister said, ‘what makes her happy is when she is able to make her male colleagues ‘shine’.

Not surprisingly, women left the Conference before it ended.

Draconian View

These draconian views are problematic in modern day society for a range of reasons.  Research indicates that women have been disenfranchised and disempowered in all spheres of societies and communities and are not treated ‘equally’ in the workplace.

At work, women receive on average 16.7% less in a role than their male counterpart does and the number of women in executive leadership is even less impressive.  For example, according to ABS, in 2013-14 in Australia just 26 per cent of Key Management Personnel, 24 per cent of Board Directors and 17 per cent of CEOs were women.’

The speakers comment about female leaders ensuring that they performed their role in a way that is helpful to men is alarming, at best.  Surely, they should perform their role in way that is helpful to the business, their colleagues and the Organisation at large, without a particular focus on gender specification?

If a female is only happy when her ‘male colleagues shine’ she has missed the point.  Completely.  Surely it is about making everybody shine, including peers, staff and even the profit posted each year?

Let’s Get Real

Women in leadership roles in business have one focus:  to be exemplary in their roles, regardless of whom they lead or what type of Organisation they find themselves. A women’s focus is not to position herself to help men at work, nor to please members of the opposite sex so they shine.

Leadership is about direction, strategy, goal setting and implementation and finally, reviewing outcomes and achievements.

As long as businesses or faith based Organisations (including Evangelical Colleges) see women as having to be subservient, pleasing of and heeding to the needs of their male counterparts in the workplace, we will remain locked in the cycle of gender inequality and stereotyping, impacting businesses, communities and societies in the future and for a long time to come.

Wake up!  It’s time to get real.

June 17, 2017

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