Month: February 2013

What gender equality looks like in practice: a call for responses

by Jenny Baker

If you ask people whether they believe in the equality of women and men, most of them are likely to say ‘yes’. If you look at the way those people live – and I include myself in this – I wonder if you would see that equality put into practice. It’s so easy to fall into patterns of living and behaving that follow the entrenched gender stereotypes of society rather than modelling the equality and partnership between men and women that God intended. 

So how can we be intentional about putting equality into practice at home, in the church and at work? How do we resist stereotypes and play to our strengths rather than following prescribed roles? Who are the people who have wrestled with some of this and can show us the way? Where are our companions on the journey who can challenge us, support us and talk things through? 

I’m writing a book on the equality of men and women and what that looks like in practice. I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences and want to include some ‘real life’ stories in the book. I’ve set up a survey with the following questions to capture responses, and you’ll be able to specify how you want me to use your contribution. You don’t have to answer all the questions – just those where you have something you’d like to say. Click here to see the survey and let me know what you think.

• How have you tried to put equality into practice at home, church or work? How have you been intentional about sharing responsibilities or making sure people have the same opportunities? 

• Where have you experienced inequality at home, church or work – for example people having different expectations or standards for women or men, or treating them differently?

• Where do you see inequalities between men and women that you think Christians should be addressing?

• Are there areas where we should accept inequality between men and women – that’s how God designed us?

• Do you have any tips on practicing equality for specific groups of people – single people, married people, men, women, parents…? 

Thank you very much in advance. If you want to contact me directly, please email 

Jenny Baker has been championing the equality of women and men in the church for many years. She has a masters in gender studies and is co-founder for the Sophia Network for women in leadership. She works for Church Urban Fund and lives in London.


Lenten Challenges For Women


by Jenny Parnham

Below is a collection of ideas for things to do for Lent. Some of them are about taking up habits and practices, others are about giving things up. When we give things up (like chocolate) we are not saying those things are themselves bad, but that we are putting them aside for a time to learn more about ourselves and more about God. When we take up practices, we are not saying they are essential to life but that we are making them a discipline for a time – again to grow spiritually. So with that introduction here are a few ideas for Lent challenges this year. Please do add your comments and thoughts!

1.       Refer to God as She not He

2.       Remove all mirrors from your house

3.       Give up make-up

4.       Remove no hair from your body

5.       Dance naked every day

6.       Do not apologise (especially for existing)

7.       Do not volunteer to do the washing up, cleaning or any other domestic chore at church, work or home if someone else is available to do it.

8.       Don’t go shopping for non-essential items

9.       Challenge every person who tries to gossip with you – especially if it’s about other women

10.   Point out when men interrupt you or speak over you

11.   Record every time you experience sexism and email it to all your male friends at the end of lent.

12.   Challenge every instance of sexism

13.   Give up beauty magazines

14.   Stand in front of the mirror every day and tell yourself how great you are

15.   Get excited about wrinkles and grey hairs – celebrate them with someone

16.   Learn the names for the parts of your genitalia, what they look like and where they are

17.   Call a female friend/family member you value every day and thank them

18.   Prioritise your needs above the needs of others

19.   Spend an hour a day doing something purely for yourself

20.   Give up dieting