Yesterday, one of my female student leaders taught a class at my church. Her teaching felt especially appropriate since it was international women’s day, a day in which we celebrate women and the movement for women’s rights.
My student leader and I are fortunate. We’re in an environment in which women regularly lead alongside men.
But I know that’s not the case everywhere. Given that, as youth workers, how can we support the girls in our ministries?
1. Recognize their gifts. Girls are incredibly gifted. When you see their gifts, name them. Give girls the opportunity to use those gifts in your ministry. As they do, affirm them. Disciple them as they continue to develop their gifts and wrestle with how they can be used both inside and outside the church.
2. Don’t pigeonhole girls into roles purely because of their gender. Girls can do more than sing, play with kids, and cook (although they should also be encouraged to do those things if they’re gifted in those areas!) Rather than assign students roles because of their genders, assign them roles because of their giftedness.
3. Let them speak. Girls have stuff to say. So let them say it. Don’t put words in their mouth. Don’t interrupt them. Don’t try to explain what you think they’re saying. Instead, give the girls in your ministry a voice. Let your ministry be a safe space for them to say whatever’s on their minds and in their hearts.