by Michael Donahoe
I wanted to update this article that I originally wrote last year for another blog. I wanted this to be an encouragement to my daughters, granddaughters and even my great-granddaughters so that they will know they can do anything they want to do.
It is hard to believe we still need to mention this issue, but women still suffer from discrimination and unequal treatment. Women deserve equal treatment and equal rights just like any other human being. It is hard to believe that only a few years ago women could not vote, hold certain jobs, obtain a credit card or do many day-to-day things that men do. Women had their place in the home and they were not to step outside that role.
As we look back over history, we see women have always struggled. They were looked upon as property back in biblical days and had no say in anything. Even today in some middle eastern countries, women are treated as property rather than as human beings. Surprisingly, women still suffer discriminatory treatment here in the United States today.
Speaking of biblical times, it seems to me at least Jesus treated women on an equal basis with men. We often read that he spoke with women, respected and cared for women and had many friends that were women. That was unheard of in those times. We read of many women who supported Jesus and were part of his ministry. Yet today it is still common for women to be rejected for ministry such as being pastors or clergy leaders.
It is sad to think of young women who dream of something they want to accomplish or some type of work they want to do when they grow up, and then mostly see the boys accomplish their dreams while women get left behind or treated as less than. It is a sad to think about these young girls who either dream of doing something particular when they grow up and then being told they cannot do it, or who give up on any such dream because they feel they will be denied the opportunity.
I remember after getting my first job, I was amazed when I learned that women received less pay for doing the same job as me. I could not figure out why that was the case. Sadly, it still happens today in many cases.
My lifetime dream was to be a firefighter. At one point in time, women were not even considered for a job like that. Fortunately, that changed over time and in the years I worked as a firefighter, I saw more fairness and equal treatment than I did in my first job or within the church. The position of firefighter had specific requirements and received certain pay and it was the same if the position was filled by a man, a woman, someone who was black or white, gay or straight. And as firefighters we gave the same equal service to all human beings no matter who they were.
Many times, especially in religious circles, women are treated as second class citizens and as being unequal with men. They are supposed to wear certain kinds of clothes, they are supposed to stay in the home and raise kids or only work certain kinds of jobs and sadly, they are told to stay quiet in the church. Fortunately, things have been changing here also, but there is still a long way to go.
It is sad to hear of women being abused by their husbands. This should not be. Husbands are told to love their wife as they love their own body. Husbands and wives, or any marriage partner, should be treated as equals and with love and respect. For those who are abused, I feel it is best they leave the situation and move on. Even though the bible talks about divorce, I do not believe God intends for women or married partners to stay in abusive relationships.
I hear complaints about women’s lib, equal rights and feminism from time to time and it makes me mad. Why do so many of us men think women are not as capable as us? I believe women are just as smart, strong, capable and able to do anything they desire. I know for a fact that I respected all the women firefighters who did the job just as good as I did, and many did it even better. I believe what a person does in life depends on their qualities, training, capabilities and desires and not on whether they are male or female.
I believe all human beings have the same ability to accomplish the desires God put within them. Men and women are both deserving of equal treatment, equal rights and equal pay.
I pray that we come to fully accept and appreciate women as equals. It is time discrimination and unfair treatment of women, or any human being, comes to an end. I want my daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters to know that they are fully capable of fulfilling their dreams and making great accomplishments to society. Do not let society or any man tell you anything different.