How the 'faith ceiling' is impacting Christian women

On International Women’s Day (8 March 2024), it’s time to use our voice and remember who God created us to be.

According to the Global Media Monitoring project, only 27 per cent of experts quoted as sources in mainstream media are women.

When I first saw that statistic, my immediate thought was, “I wonder how many of those women speaking to the media are Christian?”

It’s a question I have asked myself a lot.

Sitting in board rooms.

In media interviews.

On business panels.

Outside of the Christian bubble, faith events and sister-like conferences, how often do we see Christian women leaders impacting the national agenda?

We are all very aware of the statistics around women’s inequality, the glass ceiling and most recently, the gender pay gap in Australia. But have we considered how the “faith ceiling” is impacting women today?

The weight of old-school church culture that said a woman’s role was on the sidelines.

Growing up in church, I was taught a woman’s role was to serve and nurture, preferably behind-the-scenes, alongside her husband. I never quite fit into the “church wife” or “woman missionary” role.

But I never quite fit into the corporate woman role either.

I was too much at times; not enough at others.

When I watched the famous Barbie monologue on screen, I felt seen.

But added on to that was script of religious “should-nots”… The weight of old-school church culture that said a woman’s role was on the sidelines.

It’s a weight – with a healthy added dose of imposter syndrome – that I see a number of Christian women carry, even years into their marked achievements.

It’s easy to blame church culture, man-splaining, society at large and our own family lineage for where Christian women sit today.

Yes, we have come a long way. But we have a long way to go.

It’s a time to be reminded of who God created us to be.

Yet instead of waiting for culture to change, or church to evolve, or certain leaders to wake up, we should look to what God says about us.

On International Women’s Day, it’s a time to be reminded of who God created us to be:

His daughters;

His royal inheritance;

Fearfully and wonderfully made;

Blessed beyond measure;

Wise and beautiful;

Strong and fierce.

In the world, women have changed the course of history by lobbying, creating, starting, nurturing, leading and speaking up – when it was uncomfortable and seemingly impossible to do so.

I’m not done yet. And neither are you.

Our job is to pick up the torch carried by our mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers, and to run our race, this season, in this culture, in this time. Not just for the young women behind us, but for the spaces we are called to influence.

I would rather be known as a trailblazer than a people pleaser.

I would rather cause a faith wave than be part of the church crowd.

Perhaps it’s such a time as this that we were created for.

God gave you a voice – now is the time to use it.

Imagine seeing national and global headlines full of faith-driven women who are using the media for good and impacting thousands of people across the world with their expertise, experience and encouragement.

The world is in need of hope and inspiration more than ever before. Perhaps it’s such a time as this that we were created for.

That voice, that message, that story, that experience God gave you wasn’t just for your sisters, your youth group, your girlfriends or prayer partners.

He has called you to be:

Deborah in the board room;

Esther in the mission field;

Lydia in the business world.

My prayer today is that women stop convincing themselves we aren’t ready, equipped or worthy. As a daughter of God, you were always worthy.

Because if God is with you, you can’t fail. Even if the plan doesn’t work, you and God can’t fail.

It’s his promise – to you and me. Maybe today is the day we start to believe it.

Rachel Reva is a podcast host, author, board member and founder of Life On Her Terms Media. You can follow her on @lifeonhertermsmedia.