Why Christian Women Should Celebrate International Day of the Girl
The Bible has a long, tangled, and complicated relationship with women within the scriptures. Passages and characters can serve as the fundamental argument for those who interpret women as somewhat less than men in any sort of capacity, such as the creation of man and woman, excerpts in Paul’s letters, and Old Testament depictions of women. The issue of women and leadership in biblical interpretation and in the church is still an extremely debated topic today.
I’m not trying to get into this whole debate, because it is highly complicated, controversial, and confusing. What I am trying to say is that as Christian women, we should be celebrate women. There are plenty of biblical scholars who interpret the Bible with feminist lens, and I’ve had the wonderful pleasure during my undergraduate career of studying them, their words, and their views. It helped me to understand struggles I have with being a Christian woman in the modern world but following a religion that often views women in negative light.
International Day of the Girl was established by the United Nations in 2011 as a way to celebrate and empower girls, but it also serves to highlight the challenges girls face every day through injustice. This year, International Day of the Girl is October 11th, and it is one that should be celebrated by Christian women, especially women in the Bible are often forgotten. Not only this, but as Christians we are supposed to love our neighbors, love ourselves, and love God’s creation. Even though it is a secular celebration, it is a day where Christian women can celebrate themselves as God’s perfect creation while honoring the struggle the women in the Bible faced to get us to where we are.
Biblical women faced injustices daily. First, the biblical world existed in a patriarchal society. Women were seen and accepted as inferior to men, incapable of being responsible for themselves and their livelihood. Secondly, women are often portrayed in a negative light, often in ways of sexual promiscuity or cunning and deceiving minds. But this was how women had to survive, especially in the Old Testament, and it never stopped them from being servants of God.
Women in the Bible should be celebrated. Women like Ruth, who is one of two women to have a book in the canonical Bible dedicated to her. Ruth blindly follows her mother-in-law, Naomi, to follow the God of Israel. She is a true example of someone who is a faithful and humble servant. And her role is vital to us as Christians because God inserts Ruth into the genealogy of Jesus. In fact, the book of Matthew mentions five women in Christ’s genealogy, all women who were gentiles with hints of sexual scandal: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba, and Mary. And God used these women with sexual impropriety to work for him. God knew that these women would carry out his most important message to the world.
So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. -Genesis 1:27, 31
God created women, and that creation was very good. The goodness of creation runs all throughout the first book of Genesis. Therefore, if we are to celebrate God’s creation daily, praising him and honoring him, and if we view that God is good, then we should celebrate girls. We should celebrate all girls with different backgrounds, ethnicities, faiths, and cultures. The International Day of the Girl serves as a reminder that we should be doing this daily.
I was fortunately to grow up in a school and environment that encourage all women in different walks of life to celebrate herself and other women. I know that this is not the reality for many girls, but as our world today constantly moves towards viewing girls as empowering, as intelligent, as fearless, and as warriors, we can help others celebrate being women who follow Christ and learn from biblical women.
International Day of the Girl is a celebration, a time to truly revel in ourselves as God’s beautiful creation and that we are good. Take time on that day to reach out to girls, both Christian or not, to let them know that they are strong and confident, because doing so demonstrates love that Jesus has called us to do.
Whatley Hamilton // @whatleyhamilton
Hi girlies! My name is Whatley Hamilton, born and raised in Nashville, TN and just graduated from Furman University, majoring in History and Religion. On any given day, you can find me drinking English Breakfast Tea, reading a good book, and listening to true crime podcasts! My favorite things to talk about are whales, my basset hound Louis (@louisthebassethound), and random biblical history facts. I love building and sharing in community, pouring into the lives of young women, seeking to find themselves and their relationship with our sweet Lord! I can’t wait to spend the next couple of months with you.