The sections of material above serve to set the stage and frame the conversation about women at work. I felt like I needed to include that material to demonstrate how complex and sometimes controversial the topic of women in leadership, women in ministry and women at work can be in some circles.
Again – I will say – this topic offers class members and church members to have gracious conversations with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with whom they may disagree. It is also an opportunity to come to a deeper understanding of each other and pray for each other. And – regardless of how one feels about women at work, this lesson offers an opportunity for all of us to support and pray for our sisters in Christ who are working both inside and outside the home.
Now – with respect to women who are working outside the home – there are further complications to address. For example, women who are in their child-bearing years have to make some challenging choices about employment. How will these women juggle the responsibilities of pregnancy and childbirth while working? How long should a new mother take off from work after a baby is born? Will she nurse the baby or not? What are her employer’s policies about family leave? What about child-care during her working hours? What is she to do if the child/children are ill and need to stay home from daycare or school?
Further, women deal with a lot of guilt about these issues. I apologize for stereotyping and generalizing – but, men sometimes do not have to face the guilt surrounding childcare and balancing homemaking with employment. For example, I was visiting with a young mom who asked me about the possibility of taking a full-time job while her child was young. I asked her if her husband was struggling with his full-time job while their child was young. “Of course not,” she replied.
You get the point, don’t you? Women who work outside the home often are called upon to juggle many responsibilities. Some folks can easily criticize these women for working in the first place. As I have already mentioned, there is a lot of guilt experienced by many working women. Judgmental attitudes from others only contribute to those feelings.
Now – this lesson is not designed to resolve all of these issues. I am only suggesting that there are many points to discuss within this topic. Again – we can do that with grace and aplomb.