This international Women’s Day, I don’t want to hear nice words

Rev Dr Christine Redwood, Lead Pastor at Seaforth Baptist Church, reflects on the importance of gender equality and power of collaboration for the flourishing of our church and broader communities. 

Rev Dr Christine Redwood, Lead Pastor at Seaforth Baptist Church, reflects on the importance of gender equality and power of collaboration for the flourishing of our church and broader communities. 



On International Women’s Day, I occasionally see posts celebrating particular women (like a sister or a wife). It can be easy to focus on individual women we admire, but that can mean we miss or deny the real challenges facing women in our communities. We are not a gender equal society or even church. That’s what this day is about.

I remember feeling isolated as a female pastor in 2015, so I started researching the book of Judges, and for the next six years, I immersed myself in the stories featuring women and found company with feminist scholars. One of the things I learned was the importance of collaboration. Judges 4 can be dragged, kicking, and screaming, into the theological fight over whether women can lead or not. It can be easy to focus on the individual women we like and admire in this story, like Deborah (and maybe Jael). But we can miss how this story celebrates collaboration. Deborah and Barak work together as a team to protect their community. A foreigner, Jael, joins Israel and brings peace to the land. Finding company with others is crucial.

When women and men work and lead together, when women get together with other women and collaborate, churches and societies flourish. I have learned this by reading scripture and then giving it a go.

As I was finishing my thesis, I spoke by chance to three female pastors at different points in their ministry. Hearing their stories, it hit me – we have stalled. I felt convinced that more needed to be done in the church to address gender equality. I wrote to women I knew in a variety of leadership positions, asking if they wanted to talk about what we could do together. Everyone was keen. Across the following year, we came up with a list of changes necessary to see real gender equality in our churches. There were concrete suggestions about training and development, creating good governance and policies to support inclusion, cultural changes needed, and pastoral support.

One of the reasons this is so important is that when women are involved in decision-making, people can experience what gender equality looks like. It’s one of the ways we can begin to address the wider issue of domestic violence.

We wrote letters, spoke to boards, and spoke publicly to our denomination. I felt less alone and began to see glimpses of a willingness to change by some and denial about the issue by others.

This International Day for Women, I don’t want to hear nice words about a particular woman you know. I want to see action. I encourage you to find company with others who believe that gender equality is part of the good news of Christ.

This could look like worshipping in a church where gender equality is preached and practiced, collaborating with others you know, working for change in the systems and communities you are in, or if that fails, being prepared to leave with others and start something new. 



Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,

We praise you because you are a relational God,

We are humbled that you invite us to partner with you

Sharing the good news of Jesus in our words and in our actions.

Forgive us for the ways we fail to live out this good news,

Today, in particular, we think of the ways we have not included women in decision making,

And for the damage that has caused. 

Help us find company with others, to dream and collaborate together,

We pray your Spirit would empower us to work for justice,


Rev Dr Christine Redwood is currently the Lead Pastor at Seaforth Baptist Church in Sydney’s northern beaches. She recently completed her PhD in preaching, the Old Testament and feminist hermeneutics which she is adapting into a book titled 'Hear Her Voice'. Outside of work she loves spending time with her nieces. Christine loves being creative and is passionate about films, theatre, writing, and most of all communicating God’s story with others.


Domestic & Family Violence