What if the evidence suggest women are actually better at leading than men?I come from a tradition which strongly believed in female ministry and mostly in female leadership. I also happen to believe the Bible's teaching is strongly egalitarian, contrary to long-accepted and long-taken-for-granted belief in many churches and denominations. I have also found in my studies over the past thirty-plus years that egalitarian scholarship has gotten better and better over the years, while the arguments of my heirarchical and complementarian brothers and sisters have gotten more and more strained.
Many of you know I’m a huge proponent of women’s leadership. I’ve led the Call To Men to lead the way in lifting up women. I’ve called out injustice and oppression. My primary reason for lifting up women is based in the idea that humanity can only see the whole image of God in BOTH the man and the woman. Adam was originally both expressions. So in order to see the God image in ourselves (I’m speaking from a man’s perspective) we need women fully integrated into the decision making process, leading the way.
But recently I came across an interesting article that kind of caught my attention in a new way. What if the historical evidence suggests women are just better leaders than men? The Pew Forum study on religion revealed a startling piece of evidence. Women just stay with God better and in more numbers than men. It’s just a fact. And as the study suggests, women have been doing this for long periods of time.
I have a Masters in Organization Leadership and I can tell you that the evidence of leadership is based in modeling the defined response, not just talking about it. The capacity to influence is rooted in integrity to an idea, not just the capacity to speak about it. This idea was deeply explored in Robert Greenleaf's Servant Leadership. A true leader is the servant of all. Even Jesus suggested this with his own words.Mark 9:35 – Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.”And to press the evidence, women have been doing this even in the face of injustice and oppression towards women. Women have remained faithful even in spite of the injustice. The article calls out the injustice.Not a single major faith is led by members of its female flock, and the more deeply adherent a religious group becomes, the less freedom it offers its women, not to mention power. It’s hard not to compare women sticking with faith to wives confined to bad marriages: They’re so committed to the institution that they’ll willingly shrink under mistreatment just to maintain their own status quo.In other words, history reveals that women just get it better than men. They reveal stronger faith. And if we’re going to be honest about who we’re really going to follow, wouldn’t it then be more honest to admit that women are better leaders?
What better way to explore the Adventurous Life than to begin being honest with ourselves. The real winner is all of us. To begin including women into the idea of leadership means we can begin to see the whole image of God in our midst. We can begin to see the beautiful voice that has been missing in the conversation for so long.
The most important consideration, of course, is what the Bible says, not what other evidence indicates. But in my judgment, the Biblical and sociological evidence seem to be in accord.
(The picture above is of Teresa of Avila)