by Stella Ramsaroop
(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 04 March 2007)
Since I grew up in a very conservative Christian home, I know how Christianity would define a godly woman. She would submit to her husband, she would meekly obey her husband and she would take care of the kids and the house without complaint. That is what this sub-culture demands.
I am a spiritual woman who struggled with wrapping my mind around the injustices meted out to women based on our holy books. It is bad enough that little girls must hear how evil they are because Eve supposedly ate an apple long ago in a far away place, but it is even worse when normal biological occurrences, like painful labor during birth, is attributed to the “curse” of being a woman.
However, if you ask me, that interpretation of a godly woman is dated and sexist. Therefore, I think it is high time to revise that definition of a godly woman and to make it something that is far more gender equitable.
In the spirit of the new rise of gender equality that is spreading around the world through the UN’s new efforts to help women gain ground in politics, business and education, it can be easily concluded that before any of these other areas experience real change, the first area that must change is religion.
So how would I define a godly woman in the 21st century? First of all, we must explain that, for this article, being “godly” is the act of pleasing our creator. A godly woman is a spiritual person seeking to act in accordance to what her God would require of her.
I do not believe for one second that God would create one person for sole purpose of serving another person. There is no way such an enlightened being’s mind would function like a common human seeking power over others. This being would already have all power. There would be no reason whatsoever to establish one half of creation as superior to the other half – as our current holy books have decreed.
As such, surely the true creator of this world would not require women to degrade and restrict themselves by submitting to such debasing teachings, which are still practiced in the 21st century.
It seems to me that our creator would want both men and women to reach as far as possible intellectually in a joint effort to accomplish the utmost for mankind. Even a mere human such as myself can see the futility in creating something just to stifle that creation’s potential. Surely God is far wiser than I am.
Surely the creator expects both male and female to function at full capacity at all times and to work together without regard to gender by acknowledging the separate strengths of each gender. Indeed, our creator could not expect anything less.
With this in mind, a godly woman would be educated as much as possible, operating at optimum capacity without any social or political restraints to hold her back and would never, never, never submit her will to a man just because he requires it of her.
A godly woman would expect her spouse to equally share household chores if she chose to work outside of the house. She would make sure to help with those chores if she chose to work fulltime outside of the home and the man was the primary caregiver for the children. Likewise, she would require the same in a reversed role.
A godly woman would be quick to speak against sexism and she would never tolerate a man who abused her or her children physically, sexually, emotionally or mentally.
Of course, a godly woman would also gladly help others when it is within her power. She would freely dole out a shrewd mix of compassion and wise counsel.
A godly woman would accomplish as much as she wanted, she would reach as far as she could reach and she would never feel guilty for being successful and intelligent. She owns her own properties, runs her own businesses and manages her own finances if she so chooses.
What is a godly woman? She is the quick-thinking lady who does not shy away from telling fundamentalists that she is her own woman and she refuses to succumb to the dated and sexist teachings.
Surely, this is what our creator really expects of women. In fact, this has to be what our creator expected all along. Anything less would be a sin.