Why I care when women aren’t represented at Christian conferences

I mentioned earlier that in the Verge 2010 lineup, there are 12 male speakers and 1 male musician listed on the homepage. I thought I’d take a few sentences paragraphs to explain why this bugs me. First off, it’s not just women who are underrepresented at these things, but at least Verge has some other races/ethnicities represented so I’ll focus on the woman thing for now.

I don’t think diversity for diversity sake is valuable in any way. If the only reason a conference like Verge had a woman speaker was so that they could avoid people like me bitching at them, then never mind. But I’d like to think the planners of Verge recognize the value of diverse voices when discussing missional community…esp. in the real life, grass roots living out of missional community…and I know enough about Hugh Halter and Alan Hirsch to know that they have lived at that grass roots level. (and I know enough about Alan’s wife to know she might just agree with me here)

So why does it bug me? Because we all lose when those voices aren’t heard, period. I believe in equity but I don’t think we’re all the same. I need different people in my life and christian communities also need different voices..not just present but actually given value. It’s really not all that complicated.

9 thoughts on “Why I care when women aren’t represented at Christian conferences

  1. Maybe if all the women just stopped showing up for these events it would make a point … I don’t know … I’m starting to feel like Kingdom Grace, just tired of the whole thing. Jesus said we were good enough, it was the Greeks and Augustine who screwed things up and the church’s light has been dimmed ever since. Whatever …

  2. Well, that's why I'm not "in" that world anymore. But as a Christian/part of the Body (even if barely so), I do think it matters. When I was at my old church, I was sharing my frustration about the church's decision to have only men as elders with the worship pastor's wife and her response was "yeah, I don't really care because I don't want to be an elder". Ummm..yeah. So anyway, I don't want to be like that.

  3. I think it’s a really important issue and it’s great that you talk about it. Even in churches that ordain women and are perceived as forward thinking all one needs is one person who feels a women should not be ordained in a power position and suddenly this issue hits you smack in the face and it’s so not pretty (and it doesn’t look like Christ).

  4. If an event doesn’T notice they’ve got jonwomen on then stage will they notice, when they’ve got no women in the conference/church-i think I’d have a lot more respect for speakers who turned down any conference that hadn’t booked any women

  5. i can’t believe that the planners of these events don’t realize the handicap they have created.there is still quite a bit of time until this conference begins. perhaps some well placed, loving messages to some of the speakers and event planners could help to change things…

  6. I know, it's quite shocking to me as well.I want to emphasize that I know as well as anyone that often at these things, the speakers have little to know involvement in the planning process. So I'm not laying blame on any particular person, certainly not the speakers. But I also know that pressure from the speakers could change things if they really wanted to go out on that limb.

  7. I agree with you, Mak, it matters. But it’s also exhausting. And so … stupid. Backasswards. Instead of the church leading on matters of social justice (which women/feminism is) the church is dragging it’s heels so much, it’s created huge ruts. And they’re growing deeper instead of shallower. So, my comment was mostly one of disgust and disbelief … still? Really? In the words of Psalm 40/Bono … How long must we sing this song?

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