The United Nations has declared today the International Day of the Girl. It got me thinking about us as a church (Epworth and the United Methodist Church) in how we support girls and women around the world. One way is certainly through providing a quality education to our young women, especially in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In the last 20 years, there has certainly been an increase in women entering STEM fields. However, more work is needed as studies have shown inherent sexism in our classrooms that begin at a young age. In the church, we need to respect women leadership even in pastoral or bishop roles. Surprisingly this is still an issue, as just this week I heard about a church that drove a woman pastor away after one year, simply because she was a woman.
The good news is that change is coming, not just here, but globally. It is seen in people like Malala Yousafzai, who fights globally for women’s education to the point where she took a bullet in the head from the Taliban. With Camp Aldersgate, I had the privilege of hearing her speak last summer in Providence. She spends each birthday in a refugee camp spending time with the most vulnerable and speaking about the importance of female education.
UMCOR supports programs that encourage female education. Something as simple as menstruation keeps girls from an education in many countries around the world. So, UMCOR has designed a program in 12 countries to combat this. More can be read here.
On this International Day of the Girl I encourage all people to find a way to support people like Malala or UMCOR and their work.
Peace be with you,
Pastor Ken Mantler