Women’s Day

Tomorrow is the 8th of March, which, in America, means that it’s one more work day. But here in Central Asia (and in many countries), the 8th of March is Women’s Day. Apparently, it’s a ridiculously big deal here, much bigger than Mother’s Day, the closest equivalent we have in the US. Nearly every place will be closed (so my non-cooking self might be accidentally fasting!). It will be rare if you see any woman walking around tomorrow without a flower in their hands. It’s huge.

Which reminds me of a couple weeks ago. I was walking back to our dorms from our OMF Gathering with a couple girls, and somehow the topic of gender came up. I told the girls, “One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when God made Adam, and then Adam felt like there was something missing. And God said, ‘You’re right. Humanity is not complete without women.’ And then God made women, and He said that only with both, only together, men and women, are the image of God. You see, in Christianity, men and women are equal.” One of the girls said, “Well in our religion [Islam], men are up here,” putting her hand up high, “like kings, and women are down here,” putting here hand down low. I looked her in the eyes, and said, “You know, I look around and see intelligent, powerful women of God, who are excellent leaders, and I know that’s not true. I know they’re equal. Do you believe that?” They looked at each other, and nodded, “Yeah, we know that’s true, too.”

Praise God on this Women’s Day, that our God is a good that created both men and women in His image. May His love and glory be revealed all the more to the women (and men) of this country!

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3 comments

  1. I don’t want to be provocative, but I feel I need to underline that it’s not all about religion. A lot was done by patriarchy, the social-political context and the misleading interpretation of the Qur’an.I hope you’ll take it as a starting point to do more research. I strongly recommend once again to read the whole Qur’an and using it as a base to compare what you hear from people, whose religious knowledge is also mixed with traditions which have roots other than Muslim ones.

    Here are few hints.

    “And their Lord responded to them, “Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female; you are of one another.” 3:195

    “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women.” 4:1

    “Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so – for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward.” 33:35

    A nice and easy to read paper: http://asmabarlas.com/PAPERS/Groningen_Keynote.pdf

    Happy Women’s Day. There are many reasons to firmly believe equality is the goal our Savior aimed to while creating men and women and that if a lack of it can be found in the Holy Books, being the Qur’an or the Bible, we always need to be very careful and not to forget the particular historical frames of these texts.

  2. Thanks for the verses, Elisa. However, I was not saying what the Qur’an does or does not say. I was merely reporting what she said, and that she affirmed the equality of men and women that Jesus espouses.

    Certainly we need to consider cultural context (one of the most important things in my personal study of controversial issues in scripture), but we need to also be careful not to gloss over things like wife-beating in a pursuit of making a text say something it doesn’t and didn’t.

  3. Olivia · · Reply

    Hey Scott,

    We celebrated Women’s Day today in Burkina too! They even had specific fabric at the markets for the women and men to make new clothing out of to show off at the parades and around town. Hope your time is going great in Central Asia.

    Blessings,
    Olivia

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