March 1, 2024

Women's History Month 2024

Happy Women’s History Month!  This month, we focus our national attention on women’s stories, contributions, and struggles by calling the names of the women who have been change agents.  We celebrate, commemorate, learn about, and learn from the scholarship and lived experiences of women.  In a world corrupted by patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism, honoring, as Womanist declare, the “courageous and audacious” women of the everyday as well as those who have changed the course of human history is the central conversation for March.

Celebrating women and the diversity of womanhood began as an international day of celebration that has developed into a month of recognitions and activities.  March stresses the importance of sharing the stories of legendary history makers and of women who have changed lives without ever achieving notoriety.  We uplift the named and unnamed women who faced adversity, “made a way out of no way,” and fought against oppression.

As we commemorate and celebrate women, we cannot underestimate the influence that religion and theology have had on interpretations of womanhood.  Looming large are the biblical interpretations and theological determinations that have shaped how society has seen and represented women.  Consider Lilith, the myth of the first woman created, whose story sought to justify patriarchy and explain crib death.  We should not overlook Tituba, who was the first woman accused of witchcraft in what became known as the Salem Witch Trials.   Claiming biblical authority on matters of leadership, sexists and misogynists are quick to invoke Paul and say that “women should keep silent in the churches” (I Cor. 14:34a).  In my early religious studies formation, Rosemary Reuther, renowned feminist theologian, described the Genesis creation myths as male rites of passage narratives that require reinterpretation.

We Iliffians are committed to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, so let us say their names and study their lives!  This Women’s History Month, let us take a critical look at the reductionistic theologies that continue to define women as chattel without rights.  Let us critique and deconstruct the theologies that appeal to an archaic body politic that turns the world upside down by objectifying women and making her-story invisible.  I further encourage the Iliff community to call the names and study the thoughts of feminist theologians like Mary Daly, Womanist ethicists like Katie Cannon, Mujerista theologians like Ada María Isasi-Díaz, Minjung theologians like Park Soon-Kyung, and others.  And remember, as always, “We advocate freedom!”