” We have more than 3000 talented, caring, compassionate, amazing women working for Anglicare. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Breaking the bias’. Let’s consider what do we need to do as an organisation, a community and a society to overcome inequality.” Simon Miller, Anglicare CEO.
We asked some of the incredible women working at Anglicare what their thoughts were on equality, Jesus’ heart for women, the importance of women in leadership and what their International Women’s Day message was. Here are their responses.
What does equality mean to you?
Equality to me, means feeling safe and having equal opportunities regardless of race, social status, gender or ability. As a woman of colour myself, I feel empowered to make decisions. I’ve been given many opportunities to grow and learn within Anglicare and it has been so uplifting. ~ Moriah, AAH Care Team Leader
Equality means unbiased access to opportunity and wellbeing, not just along gendered lines but across all different economic, ability, age and ethnic identities too. ~ Danielle, Take Love Coordinator
Equality is an interesting word! To me it means having the same access to opportunities and rewards as others irrespective of gender. To gain equality we may from time to time have to focus on certain groups of people who, for one reason or another, need additional support to get to the same starting line as those in a more privileged position. ~ Jacqui, Head of Counselling, Mediation and Youth Services
For me, it’s about treating a person as a human irrespective of anything else (gender, race, or religious preferences etc.). We should not have to fight for equality, it should be a part of being human. ~ Sonika, RN Sisson Clinic
For me, it means treating everyone with fairness and respect, but most importantly recognising the needs of individuals. It’s being free of discrimination, hatred and intolerance. ~ Rebecca, Lifestyle Coordinator Dudley Foord House
What is Jesus’ heart for women?
Jesus was revolutionary when it came to women. He valued women and loved them unconditionally. He valued the ministry of women in his mission on earth. He treated women with compassion and respect, placing their value equal with men (against the cultural norms of his time). ~ Basma, AAH Pastoral Carer
When we read the biographies of Jesus’ life in the Bible (the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), it is so evident that Jesus deeply loves and respects women. He takes time to listen to them, and to teach them about who he is. Oftentimes, Jesus engages with women whom it would have been shameful for him to be around in their culture. But as we read, we see that Jesus treats these women with dignity and compassion, and that is the true heart of Jesus for women, both then and today. ~ Bethany, Health and Justice Chaplain
One of my favourite quotes about Jesus and women comes from Dorothy L. Sayers, one of the first women to receive a degree from Oxford University. This quote comes from a book of essays titled “Are Women Human? Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society”.
“Perhaps it is no wonder that women were first at the cradle and last at the cross. They had never known a man like this man – there never has been such another. A prophet and teacher who never nagged at them, never flattered or coaxed or patronised; who never made arch jokes about them, never treated them as “The women, God help us!” or “The ladies, God bless them!”; who rebuked without querulousness and praised without condescension; who took their questions and arguments seriously; who never mapped out their sphere for them, never urged them to be feminine or jeered at them for being female; who had no axe to grind and no uneasy male dignity to defend; who took them as he found them and was completely unselfconscious. There is no act, no sermon, no parable in the whole Gospel that borrows its pungency from female perversity; nobody could possibly guess from the words and deeds of Jesus that there was anything “funny” about woman’s nature.”
In the Bible we see so many beautiful encounters between Jesus and women – his mother, the women who followed him and were family of the disciples, and those he encountered one off, like the Samarian woman at the well. Jesus broke so many norms of his day and of our time now. He valued women as image bearers of God, created and held precious by him. His heart was, and is, for women to have richness of life and fulfillment as only God can provide.
I think Jesus’ heart for these women, for all women, can be captured in the words of Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” ~ Miriam, Village Manager Minto Gardens
Why is it important to have women in leadership?
It’s important to have women in leadership because we all bring our unique experiences and perspectives into a leadership role. It’s important to have a range of diverse voices at the leadership table as we represent the people we serve who are also diverse. When those voices are missing because of gender, cultural background or other reasons we risk not being able to see issues from a wholistic perspective and when that happens we risk making skewed decisions – and that’s poor leadership! ~ Jacqui, Head of Counselling, Mediation and Youth Services
Women are so often the primary care givers and decision-makers for children, the elderly and the vulnerable and marginalised. They are often responsible for making important decisions that impact hugely upon the direction of society and individuals. The amazing women who have impacted my life – my mum and my sister and the women I work or have worked with – are predominantly incredibly high achievers, but at the same time servant-hearted and sacrificial towards their colleagues and residents or customers they serve. Woman so often bring a gentle strength and a richness of insight that is so important to leadership. Women also bring beauty, joy and servant-heartedness to the workplace and to leadership. They complement the strengths and characteristics that their male counterparts bring. ~ Miriam, Village Manager Minto Gardens.
What is your International Women’s Day message?
The Bible tells us that God created both men and women equally in his image to be in relationship with each other and ultimately with him. There is no difference in our value and worth in God’s eyes. As a woman, God deeply loves you and cares for you, not in spite of your gender, but because of it! Happy International Women’s Day! ~ Bethany, Health and Justice Chaplain
We’re better together and strengthened through diversity. ~ Danielle, Take Love Coordinator
We can celebrate International Women’s Day by having a strong and confident identity in Christ and knowing who God created us to be. ~ Basma, AAH Pastoral Carer
My message for other female staff at Anglicare would be, please indulge in healthy self-love and self-praise for your efforts of delivering care and support not only at work but at home too. Stay strong always. ~ Sonika, RN Sisson Clinic
Don’t be afraid if a role that you start out in ends up taking you down a different path. You have plenty of time to try different things and learn the lessons that give you the experience and confidence to make the best choices. Please don't be afraid to stand up for your rights and build your home with the happiness. I’ve been able to do this with my two young adult kids. And if I can do it, without a doubt you can too my dear friends. ~ Rebecca, Lifestyle Coordinator Dudley Foord House