Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. Brené Brown
Every day we learn of a new loss to grieve in this season of change. Today I am grieving the loss of women. Rather than grieving alone, I’m reaching out for your help.
You and I were born into a male dominated world—a place when most of our power, influence and resources are controlled by men. I then attempted a career in a disproportionately male-dominated enterprise—spiritual leadership. Like you, I know our world, and my own job, like the back of my hand.
I also raised a family of four little women in this world. The Martinez women are now in the workforce observing these things for themselves and kicking my butt.
Gender bias has produced pain and grief in our lives. How could it not? Scaling walls, getting tired, falling from heights and rolling backwards down hills are not anyone’s vision of an exhilarating career. To be fair, there have been some satisfying moments of pure survival, navigating change successfully and living by grace.
We’ve long known that even when women are technically welcome and wanted in their chosen field, there is a high cost. Men bear a far smaller share of this cost burden. By and large, men have more resources to run their homes and care for their children while they work from home, travel or office-away.
Dear Peacemakers, here is our new loss: The pandemic is causing a caregiving crisis. Melinda Gates explained on NBC last week: “If we’re going to look at re-opening our economy, we have to take care of our most essential workers,” she says. “Eighty-five percent of nurses are women. And yet, who is the primary caregiver at home? Women. Who is the primary one for educating the kids? Women.”
She explains that when caregiving disproportionately falls on women, it makes it hard for them to do their jobs, leading to a loss of income for some women who end up taking a break from work or leaving the workforce altogether.
I know from my friends, family and neighbors that our women with children or aging parents are struggling under the burden of disproportionate caregiving. We are losing women.
One loss is the emotional vitality of our sisters, NOW. The next loss will be to watch our progress away from gender bias diminished. The next loss will the wellbeing of our world, homes, relationships and workplaces. The world needs women who are fully alive, leading strong and loving our neighbors well.
Will you open your mind and learn about this scary topic with me?
As a starting point, will you read this short article with short video from Secretary-General António Guterres speaking at a meeting of the United Nations? I like it because it is plain spoken, caring and true.
And sisters: Please enjoy this mother’s day blessing spoken by Wendy Howell to my church in northern Colorado.
What can you do to help shoulder some domestic load for a woman or mother today?
Where women thrive, the world thrives. A rising tide floats all boats.
Have a blessed evening,