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Whatever happened to Eden?

Whatever happened to Eden?

Whatever happened to Eden?

8 March 2021

By Janet Munn

Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, authors of the book Half the Sky, became aware of the ‘gendercide’ happening in China and around the world, and confirm the following:

More girls and women are now missing from the planet, precisely because they are female, than men were killed on the battlefield in all the wars of the 20th century ... [This] number far exceeds the number of people who were slaughtered in all the genocides of the 20th century.[1]

Researchers on gender-based abortion, refer to the babies that were not born due to gender-based abortion as ‘missing females’. They calculated that China currently has approximately 11.9 million missing females and India has approximately 10.6 million missing females. The grand combined total for all of the countries in the study came to approximately 23.1 million missing females.[2]

For millennia, women have not been in control of their own reproductive capacity, they have not had access to education, the right to vote or own property, or opportunities to be financially self-supporting. Even today, by and large, men control the economic and political environments in which women live and work.

Globally, women do three times more unpaid care work than men. This work is currently valued at $10 trillion per year, but even that huge number still doesn’t capture the full extent of women’s lost economic potential.[3]

Globally, one in two women who are murdered are murdered by a male partner or family member.[4]

Seventy-one per cent of all human trafficking victims globally are females.[5]

According to the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Report, four areas in which women are currently disempowered globally include: access to education, health survivability, political participation, and economic security.[6] The consequences of disempowerment in these areas for women, their families, and their communities are manifold and disastrous.

Where are the women?

Kingdom Community – Eden restored

The earliest verses in scripture provide a fascinating window into the identity of humankind: “Human beings were created in the image of God; male and female they were created” (Genesis 1:27).

The image of God is one of mutuality. The interrelationship between male and female symbolises the interrelationship within God. Male and female are needed to reflect God’s nature and bear God’s image in the world, and this, in community.

Having been raised a devout Jew, prior to his conversion the apostle Paul himself was likely to have given daily thanks to God, along with other Jewish males, that he was not a Gentile, not a slave, and not a woman. It is interesting to note that this prayer was not an indication of contempt for Gentiles, slaves, or women per se. Rather, the prayer of gratitude was expressed because Gentiles, slaves, and women were disqualified from religious privileges which were open to free Jewish males.

But the Christian baptismal confession declared that a new world order had begun, that the kingdom of God had come.

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).

In that kingdom, Christians gained a new identity. In Christ, one’s primary identity is no longer defined in terms of ethnic, social, or gender distinctions. ‘In Christ’ something new has happened, the kingdom has come, and the old divisions of the fallen world order have come to an end. The kingdom community inaugurated through Jesus Christ as the expression of the divine image is to be a holy example of Eden restored.

In celebration of March as UN Women’s History Month, take some time to reflect:

  • Who are the women in your life whose talents and gifts you can honour, celebrate and empower?
  • Are there women in your life whom you have dishonoured, or ignored?
  • What can you do now to set this right?
  • How can we all honour the image of God in females by celebrating women’s talents, intelligence, innovation, hard work, and endurance?

Colone Janet Munn is the Director of The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission in New York City.

[1] Kristof, Nicholas D. and Sheryl WuDunn. 2009. “The Women’s Crusade.” New York Times.
www.nytimes.com/2009/08/23/magazine/23Women-t.html.
[2] Yirka, Bob. 2019 “Long Term Study Shows Gender Based Abortions Lead to Skewed
Gender Population Numbers.” Phys.org. phys.org/news/2019-04-long-term-gender-based-abortions-skewed-gender.html.
[3] Gates Foundation. 2019. “Examining Inequality: How Geography and Gender Stack the Deck
for (or Against) You.” Gates Foundation Goalkeepers Report 2019.
www.gatesfoundation.org/goalkeepers/report/2019report/progress-indicators/gender-equality/
[4] United Nations Women. www.unwomen.org/en.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Verveer, Melanne. 2011. “The political and economic power of women.” Speech presented at Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues Center for International Private Enterprise, June 20, 2011, in Washington, DC. www.state.gov/s/gwi/rls/rem/2011/167142.htm.

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