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What About the Women?

Depending on where you live, your experience and opinion about the plight of women in our world might drastically differ from that of people living somewhere else.

Fair treatment of women dominates conversations of global relief groups, philanthropists, government agencies, and mission organizations. Women worldwide experience fewer opportunities and more mistreatment than men. Literacy for women is as much as 28% less than men in some countries.* While the disparity has receded in recent decades, there is still a 13% difference globally.* Women who can read fluently are more likely to be educated, embrace better health and hygiene practices, own their own business, and lead in the community, church, and more. Education becomes power. In oral cultures as well, though not through reading fluency, education enables girls and women to gain exposure to a wealth of possibilities the world has to offer. Entrepreneurial women often bring positive change to their surroundings.  And it just keeps rolling forward, as mothers impart worth to their daughters and their daughters’ friends. Those girls see an expanding world of opportunity before them. But for many women in risky places, opportunities are few and very far between.

During global pandemic lockdowns, risk of experiencing violence increased by up to 30% for women, whether physical, sexual, or psychological.** Extended stay-at-home time also extended women’s labor burdens even beyond the already imbalanced average of three times as much unpaid domestic work as men.** Because they were confined at home longer, more tasks fell on their shoulders.

When women are esteemed and encouraged, an entire society benefits. Women pass on positive value to children, treat men better, and have space and energy to invest in their communities.

Jesus broke the culture’s mold with His treatment of women. In a time when women were typically treated as property, He saw their humanity and value. Even women with tough pasts were welcome in Jesus’ circle: demon-possessed, harlots, multiple failed marriages. No wonder He had a following of female disciples who journeyed with Him and the men. No wonder those women opened their purses and provided food for the group. No wonder they wept at the foot of His cross and carried embalming spices to His tomb. No wonder they were present in the upper room on Pentecost. Jesus gave them status in a culture that did not.

The Gospel of Matthew opens with the genealogy of Jesus. In a patrilineal society, you expect to see a list of men. Besides Mary, His mother, sprinkled in are Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba—four non-Jewish women whose stories include sexual abuse, oppression, objectification, and heartbreak.

Jesus’ teachings and attitudes towards women in the Gospels still speak today; they resonate and spur transformation as communities hear the Word. Women all over the world find value and hope. Men find a higher standard for their relationships with women.

The Gospel of Jesus changed Inez, living high in the Andes Mountains. When she takes her sheep to graze, she also takes a Proclaimer, a solar-powered Audio Bible, so she can hear God’s Word in Quechua. As she listens, Inez feels compelled to love her neighbors more completely, and she invites them to listen as well.

Florence always believed she was cursed. She was convinced she would never marry. But God changed her life as the Word changed what she believed about herself. Now she is happily married and a committed member of a Bible listening group in her village.

Anna was much feared in her community. As a fortuneteller, she was devoted to a goddess who often possessed her so she could predict the future of others. However, Anna’s confidence in the word of the goddess diminished when it could not prevent Anna’s own father from dying. A friend shared how she had been changed by God and that He could change Anna as well. Hearing Scripture in Telegu, she felt peace, rest, and relief. As her faith has grown, her gruesome countenance has changed and no longer terrifies the neighborhood.

Minh was curious. Why were Christians positive and optimistic? Growing up with a mixture of ancestor worship and a majority religion, not really following any particular belief system, she struggled with the ups and downs of life. Her tears would flow when things were tough, but she had no understanding of a God who would hear her plea. Her friends encouraged her, explaining that God is personal, like a close friend, father, or mother. Using a Bible app, God’s Word has become more accessible to her mind and heart. Its truths now direct her path forward as she walks in faith and prays for her future.

Everyone in the village knew that Bihm’s husband was a violent and unpredictable man. Possessed by demons, stripped naked, he yelled insults and attacked others as he stalked around the neighborhood. Bihm burst into the church service one day pleading for help, only to be greeted by a cutlass-wielding lunatic when she returned home with her pastor. A few days later, the pastor was caught in a downpour near Bihm’s house. He placed his Proclaimer through an open window for safekeeping, asking Bihm to return it the following day. When she came, Bihm told him how she and her husband listened to God’s Word the previous evening. One hour became several, and her husband listened on, calm and attentive, unwilling to stop. A new habit of listening to Audio Scripture led to deliverance from his demons and embracing new life in Christ. For Bihm and her husband, everything has changed.

Faith Comes By Hearing records the pure Word of God in languages that still need it. We provide recordings in multiple formats, including playback devices, SD cards, and downloads. In listening groups, men, women, and children gather weekly to hear Scripture, discuss it, and pray for and support each other as everyone lives out the values of the kingdom of God in their communities. Join us in this life-changing work today.

* https://www.vitalvoices.org/2019/09/international-literacy-day-the-literacy-gender-gap/

** https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5