THIS BLOG POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON BLOG.FH.ORG. WRITTEN BY BETH ALLEN.
Today marks International Women’s Day which serves to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. It also brings awareness to the parts of the world where women’s parity is slowed or ignored, inspiring action against the oppression of women’s ideas, advancement and equality. - Sara Chambers, FH USA
I’ve traveled all over the world with Food for the Hungry over the past 20 years, and could give you myriad examples of how Christ and his message liberates women worldwide. Whether the term is "feminist,” “women’s rights advocate,” or “women’s libber,” I think Jesus would have checked the box.
I asked some of my colleagues who see Christ’s impact on culture in the countries where FH works, to tell us how they see women (and men) being freed from damaging ideas about being female.
From Jaime Mardoñez, FH Bolivia:
"Machismo is a very common practice in some cultures of Bolivia; women are often beaten and sometimes can die. FH Bolivia consistently teaches the biblical viewpoint that violence against women is wrong. Jesus has freed women of my country by allowing the enactment of the new law against femicide. This law provides severe penalties for offenders and seeks to reduce the abuse that women could suffer. Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect (1 Peter 3:7)"
From Miriam Makai, FH Uganda:
"Women are some of the most vulnerable in the community where I work, Mbale. As more women accept Christ as their savior in our society, they have been able to influence their families to follow suit and as a result there are now more stable families, with less domestic violence which was so common prior.
"One of my colleagues recently shared this testimony from one mother named Rebecca: ”Ever since my husband accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior, he now respects me as his partner and involves me in decision making when we are planning for our family, unlike in the past where he would look at me as a useless object, for that is how our culture looks at women.”
From Danae Castañeda, FH Peru:
"In Lima’s slum neighborhoods, by adhering to the teachings of Jesus, FH has helped liberate women from being violent with their children. The mothers thought that giving children physical or verbal punishments, and not showing them love or care are the correct ways to raise them. Thanks to Jesus, they have learned positive parenting skills in order to treat them well and create a healthy environment for their development.
"In the rural Andes highlands, Jesus has liberated women of the highlands from harmful ideas that affected their children’s diet. They now know that Jesus taught that all life is sacred and, therefore, all children are precious. To help those precious children, FH helped them see that their regional food (like lima beans, barley, wheat, maca) have good nutritional value. In the past, the mothers used to give these crops to the animals. Thanks to Jesus, these women are learning the importance and value of each food and FH is teaching them how to prepare nutritious meals."
From FH Nicaragua:
"Due to a deeper understanding of biblical worldview, the women in FH’s communities have comprehended that they have different roles, that it isn’t only men who can be leaders. The women affirm that Jesus has liberated them from the deep-rooted domination of machismo. Now, more than 80 percent of the women have leadership posts in the communities; they are making decisions and now know that God has given them abilities complementary to men, and gifts to guide, think, serve and lead in their communities."
From FH Dominican Republic, Grace Gonzalez:
"I just met a woman in the community of El Tamarindo named Daisy, who told me about how Jesus had changed her life. Daisy says, “Christ has changed me through his Word. Here we can see many freed women who reached their goals. So we can persevere through prayer and obedience, doing useful things for the community.”
International Women’s Day is not just a singular event, one day, but rather a catalyst that sparks change. Let it inspire you to stand up and speak out for those women who are hiding behind fear and shame, and to cheer women on worldwide. Check out more at UN Women or join the conversation using #IWD2016 or #PledgeforParity