Women in Leadership: A Perspective

Stefanie Ertel, M.A.

Dean of Distance Education

Program Director, Christian Leadership

Many people, organizations, churches, and others are focusing on the fact that every life can make a difference. Heidi Wills said, “we can choose to be affected by the world or we can choose to affect the world.” Every person has aspects of their life that will help them and hinder them going after a life of change and impact. One barrier that is becoming less and less over the years is gender.

The presence of women engaged in leadership roles is increasing across the United States (and the world); however, it is still evident that there is a drastic difference between men and women in this arena. Even with the drastic growth in the past decade, there is still a disparity in the number of women in leadership roles in the United States.

Female Leadership in the United States today:

20.7% of U.S. Clergy

32% of college presidents (78% of those women serving their first presidency)

8% of Fortune 500 CEOs

For Christians, several mainstream opinions are prevalent on what they believe about women in leadership. The most popular include:

─ Women cannot have any form of leadership or authority over men.

─ Women are able to lead, teach, oversee, direct, pastor, etc. over men, but are not able to serve in governmental authority positions in the church (senior pastor or elder).

─ Women are completely equal on the leadership scale as men.

The scope of this blog cannot include details from all of these popular beliefs, nor even focus on one. No matter what you decide to believe, a few points should be reflected upon before determining where you stand.

─ Let scripture interpret scripture (if one area of the Bible seems to contradict another, look into it. Many factors of the culture and environment of the time it was written ought to be taken into account.)

─ Go into your research open-minded asking for the Holy Spirit to guide you.

─ Lastly, I want to encourage women to not have a victim mentality. God has created all of us on purpose, for a purpose! We all have the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to greatly impact this world for the Kingdom of God!

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote, “I do not wish women to have power over men; but over themselves.” It is not about what men can do and what women can’t do. It’s not about decreasing men to increase women. We ought to look to our own race, our own calling, and sprint after it fully. The greatest leaders use every aspect of their calling to make a difference!

Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,