Updated: Mar 24, 2021
When I moved to Arkansas, my number one priority after getting my house in a livable state was connecting with people. I didn’t know anyone in the area, so I needed to find my people fast. One of the first groups I joined was the Fayetteville chapter of Business and Professional Women (BPW). As a result of my involvement with that wonderful group of women, I became much more deeply educated about the courage and sacrifices so many women have made to help women today gain access to voting privileges, more equitable pay and job opportunities previously reserved for men.
I am deeply grateful for the hard, and sometimes tortuous work, those women did to pave the way for later generations of women including my sisters and me. Here are just a few examples:
Florence Nightingale prayed that God would give her a task that would define her life. She trained and organized nurses to care for wounded soldiers, which earned her notoriety for pioneering modern nursing.
Susan B Anthony dedicated her life to women's suffrage. She campaigned for the abolition of slavery, the right for women to own their own property, to keep their earnings, and the right to attend higher learning institutions.
Sojourner Truth went from slavery to becoming an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century. She became a preacher and national speaker. She dictated her autobiography, The Narrative of Sojourner Truth, and was able to live off the sales of the book. She is famous for her speech entitled “Ain’t I a Woman?” which she delivered at a women’s rights conference.
I am incredibly grateful that I can make my voice heard through the voting process, that I can have credit and bank accounts in my own name, and that I have been able to work in male-dominated fields alongside both men and women. I’m also grateful that the Lord has connected me with organizations that have helped me see just how much has yet to be done to eliminate the biases that too often hinder progress for women. It reminds me that we mustn’t take our rights for granted or become complacent. Each of us has a responsibility to actively seek God and take steps of faith to do our part through the work He has given us to do.
This month, we want to remember and honor the women who have gone before us to pave the way even in the face of opposition, hardship, personal sacrifice and setbacks. As we do, I hope you’ll be inspired by the faith these women have demonstrated. I pray you’ll be encouraged to step out of your comfort zone to exercise your influence, support other women, and truly seek God for the ways He wants to work through you.
Who are the Christian women who have most influenced you? We’d love to hear from you.