Men and women are not equal. There are significant differences and in the last several decades it’s become more popular to downplay these difference then to celebrate them. In doing so we genuinely miss opportunities God has given us to understand life with clarity, clarity that allows us to embrace our gifts and talents.
There has been a lot of news lately about the so-called income inequality gap in America between men and women (I sited the facts in some studies on my personal blog last week about this, under the section “When is $0.77 not really 77 cents”).
In 1993 I was 19 years old and was working part-time in my church. I was going to a Thursday morning mens study with men that were at least twice my age. Most of them husbands and fathers. We were reading through Bill Hybels book “Honest to God”, and the book and other men that I was learning from proved to be a real gift to me. Chapter 4 in the book is called “Women, Liberation, and the Pursuit of God”. As a 19 year old who was trying to figure out how to be a “man”, I was for the first time introduced to the one of the challenges that a girl would encounter in becoming a “woman”. The challenge of balancing a career, being a wife and a mom!
In his book Hybel’s says it like this, “The women’s movement started out with two goals- to open the marketplace to women, and to give greater dignity to homemakers. Over the years it made great strides in the one, but completely forgot the other. Eventually it so exalted the marketplace that it left women with no other “acceptable” choice.”1
And often our society tells us (women in particular) that you can have it all! You can be a great mom and have a career!
I wonder if half the trouble is solved by recognizing two simple truths that are often overlooked. 1) that all wives/moms that work at home, do have a full time job (in fact work more than 40 hours a week). 2) Women by and large are gifted to do the job (yes I use the word “job” because it is work) better than most man (there are exceptions). They tend to be superior in their relational (verbal) skills, levels of patience and ability to juggle multiple over-lapping responsibilities at once far better than most men. When women are HONORED for these gifts and working in these roles I believe our homes, kids and marriages would prosper (our society as well!).
Here is a great article from Christianity Today on the subject: “Is Motherhood a Job?”
1. When was the last time you met a young woman who said, “My goal in life is to be a full-time Wife & Mother”? Why don’t we hear this more often?
2. What “wages” do Wives/Mom earn? How should they seek “compensation” for their work?
Tim Keller has an outstanding perspective on how the need for Women’s Liberation moment arose, as we went from a “Duty” based society to an “achievement” based one:
“Our contemporary culture makes us particularly vulnerable to turning success into a counterfeit god. In his book The Homeless Mind, Peter Berger points out that in traditional cultures, personal worth is measured in terms of “honor”. Honor is given to those who full their assigned role in the community, whether it be as a citizen, father, mother, teacher, or ruler. Modern society, however, is individualistic, and bases worth on “dignity”. Dignity means the right of every individual to develop his or her own identity and self, free from any socially assigned role or category. Modern society, then, puts great pressure on individuals to prove their worth through personal achievement. It is not enough to a good citizen or family member. You must, win, be on top, to show you are one the best.”2
1- “Honest to God?” By Bill Hybels -pg.44 Zondervan 1990
2- Counterfeit Gods – By Tim Keller, Dutton Books 2009 pg.78