Back in September, Annie Edwards from the Canaan Project presented us with work from her BA dissertation on Esther as a type of Christ. She explained that for someone to be a type of Christ their life must include analogies of Christ; there must be redemptive aspects to their story; and their heritage must be Jewish. This led us into a discussion about whether the messages in the Bible about women as Israel and/or the Bride of Christ perpetuate negative stereotypes of women as needing saving (and men as doing the saving). We concluded that they most probably did!
We reflected on the complexities of being inclusive for trans and gender non-conforming young people, in youth work provision that is exclusively for girls and young women. This is something that will continue to be reflected on.
Some of the resources that have been mentioned over the last few Think Tanks include:
- THIS global survey which shows that “girls are considered vulnerable and protected, while boys are set free to roam and explore, with lifelong consequences”, suggest such Biblical narratives feed into wider narratives which “straitjacket children into gender roles”.
- THIS report from YoungMinds which focussed on parents’ perceptions of about their children’s mental health with them being more concerned for their sons’ mental health, even though their daughters self-assessed their mental health as a lot worse.
- The book “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” by Rachel Held Evans.
Moving forward, in the next Think Tank we will be discussing our thoughts on THIS Liturgists podcast about God and gender and will be taking time to reflect on why girl only spaces are important and what the rationale is for targeted work with girls. We will also be asking those who are primarily working with Muslim young women to share the knowledge and expertise with us. We’re also excited there will be an opportunity to meet with the Working with Young Men Think Tank and to share learning between the groups.
If you know any Christian youth workers who are particularly focussed on working with girls, do tell them to get in touch, we’d love to hear more about their work!