Theology Crawl Discussion Guide - Women and Injustice

August 16, 2023

Welcome to Theology Crawl

Yes, being in a conversation with drinks is fun, but we need some guidelines as you enter into conversation with one another:

Everyone is not right, and that's a good thing.

The concepts we talk about in theology can have multiple interpretations, but that doesn't mean they're all right. A lot of theology is investigating the words we use to see if they make sense and are if they're adequate for God. Being wrong is how we improve our theology, not by having all the answers.

Pay attention to how people are using words.

We all use words like “love,” “God,” and “grace,” but the the reality is we often mean vastly different things. Try to listen to how people use words and if they're using them the same way you would.

Ask for people to define what they mean.

We can't have a good conversation if we are all talking past each other. It's not embarrassing to ask people for a definitional a new word or concept, it's just how you have a good conversation.

Make this work for you.

Have someone in the group keep an eye on the questions and try to make sure you're staying on topic. At the same time, it's fine to go down the rabbit holes. Sometimes, the rabbit holes can help us clarify something that we missed.

Have fun.

You won't solve world hunger, you probably won't even convince that person in the group you disagree with. Relax, be respectful, and when the questions run out, enjoy yourself and talk about something that isn't theological. Hanging out can actually be pretty important for good theology too!

Starting Question

  • When you were growing up, did you ever hear that certain activities or careers were for boys and some were for girls?


  • Estimates published by WHO indicate that globally about 1 in 3 (30%) of women worldwide have been subjected to either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • Most of this violence is intimate partner violence. Worldwide, almost one third (27%) of women aged 15-49 years who have been in a relationship report that they have been subjected to some form of physical and/or sexual violence by their intimate partner.
  • 71% of all human trafficking involves women and girls – mainly for sexual exploitation
  • In 86 countries, women face some form of job restriction and 95 countries do not guarantee equal pay for equal work.
  • Gender inequality is a major cause and effect of hunger and poverty: it is estimated that 60 percent of chronically hungry people are women and girls.
  • Women make up more than two-thirds of the world's 796 million illiterate people.
  • About four-in-ten working women (42%) in the United States say they have faced discrimination on the job because of their gender.
  • One-in-four working women (25%) say they have earned less than a man who was doing the same job; one-in-twenty working men (5%) say they have earned less than a female peer.
  • In an ABC News/Washington Post survey, 54% of women said they have received unwanted sexual advances from a man that they felt were inappropriate whether or not those advances were work-related; 30% said this had happened to them at work.
  • According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM),  60% of organizations offered 12 weeks of maternity leave and 33% offered longer leaves.
  • Almost one-quarter of unmarried mothers live below the poverty line.
  • Based on 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data, women working full time, year-round earn an average of 82 cents for every $1 earned by their male counterparts
  • For example, women hold two-thirds of U.S. student loan debt, and Black women in particular graduate with more debt than any other group, regardless of gender.
  • The United States is an outlier among developed countries in failing to guarantee access to paid family and medical leave and paid sick leave, which would allow workers time away from work to recover from an illness, care for a sick family member, or care for a new child. Without these critical work-family policies, women—who perform the majority of unpaid care work for children, elderly, and disabled family members—have fewer economic opportunities and are often forced to reduce their paid work hours or leave the workforce entirely
    A study published in 2016 found that about one-quarter to slightly more than half of women experiencing homelessness reported that domestic violence was the immediate cause.
  • Back in 2015, the New York Times did a story about how fewer women ran big companies than men named John. Female CEOs first outnumbered any single male name among S&P 500 CEOs in 2018.
  • Gender prejudice and resulting gender discrimination begin in childhood. From the moment they’re born, girls and boys face unequal gender norms as well as social norms regarding expectations and access to resources and opportunities, with lifelong consequences – in their homes, schools and communities. For example, the world’s boys are often encouraged to go to school and get an education to prepare for work, while girls carry heavy household responsibilities that keep them from school, increasing the odds of child marriage and pregnancy.
  • According to a new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the vast majority of all human trafficking victims – some 71 percent – are women and girls and one third are children. More than 90 percent of detected female victims are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
  • Roughly 1 in 5 female students report being sexually assaulted in college.  1 in 16 male students report being sexually assaulted in college.  But when it comes to discipline, universities suspend just 1 of every 12,400 students enrolled each year for sexual misconduct offenses, a USA TODAY data analysis found.
  • There are two main camps of Christians in the gender battle over leadership in the Church (also as it relates to marriage and family).
  • In the complementarian view, the Bible teaches that men and women are unique and designed differently by God. They are considered of equal value and status but they have different functions in the family and church. Men are created by God for headship (which they define as leadership) roles and women for submissive (supportive) roles.
  • The main contrasting view to complementarian male and female roles is the egalitarian view. Here the belief is that God’s plan and the Bible’s teaching is that men and women are equal not only in value and status but also in the work they can do. They have equal authority in decisions and any role in society, including church, is open to either. Male and female distinctions are still honored, but that doesn’t limit either’s opportunities to serve in particular leadership roles or to exercise authority.

Discussion Questions

  • How does the portrayal of women in media and popular culture influence perceptions and expectations of women in real life?
  • Are you aware of any gender disparities in your workplace or field of study? How do these disparities manifest?
  • Have you encountered or witnessed instances of gender bias or stereotypes affecting job opportunities or career advancement? How can we challenge these biases?
  • How can policies around parental leave and flexible work arrangements contribute to a more equitable work environment for women?
  • What role can men play in advocating for gender equality and challenging harmful stereotypes?
  • In your own experience, how have you viewed the Bible's treatment of women? What are some negative perceptions you have? Are there any positive perceptions?
  • If you look at the Scripture below and the first passage In Genesis 2, God created woman and calls her a "help meet" and is translated as “helper” in english. When you hear the word "helper,” what comes to mind? Is it positive or negative? Look at the section below labeled "Understanding Help-Meet" Does this affect your understanding of Genesis 2? What could it mean for womanhood in general? What could it mean for our image of God?
  • How do we reconcile some of the stories of patriarchy in Scripture?  Is God sexist?
  • How important is the church's view on women and leadership in the church?
  • Here is a list of proposed organizations around Women and Injustice that we are considering partnering with.
  1. Cambridge Women Shelter
  2. Women's Lunch Place

How are these organizations addressing the needs of people?


  • 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. // Genesis 2:18
  • Stories of abuse, exploitation, and violence against women expose the misogyny of patriarchal culture and their lack of comforting resolution leaves uneasy questions for people of faith. Below are a few examples.
  • Genesis 16:1-16 // Hagar, a slave, is used, abused, and then rejected by God’s chosen family.
  • Judges 19:1-30 // A concubine is raped by a mob, murdered, then dismembered by her master.
  • 2 Samuel 13:1-22 // The princess Tamar is raped by her half-brother then discarded and left desolate.
  • Judges 11:1-40 // Jephthah kills his only daughter due to a foolhardy vow he made to God.
  • 28 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
  • Although women were held responsible, in Jesus’s time, for all sexual sin, Jesus rejected this “sexism” with his dramatic indictment of men: “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” - Matthew 5:28
  • Jesus reached out to women who were rejected. In spite of the laws regarding uncleanness, Jesus allowed a woman with a twelve-year menstrual problem to touch him, and he commended her faith (Mark 5:25–34) Jesus permitted a sinful woman to anoint and kiss his feet (Luke 7:36–50)
  • The women Jesus included became the proclaimers of Jesus as Savior and risen Lord. The Samaritan woman was responsible for evangelizing her town (John 4:39–42). All of the Gospels show that it was Jesus’s women disciples who were the first persons to declare the message of Jesus’s resurrection, central to the gospel in the early church.
  • 48 He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother. // Matt 12:48–50
  • 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers // 1 Peter 3:7


  • In Hebrew the two words that "help meet" are derived from are the words "ezer" and the word "K'enegdo."
  • Ezer: The noun ezer occurs 21 times in the Hebrew Bible. In eight of these instances the word means
  • "savior". These examples are easy to identify because they are associated with other expressions of deliverance or saving. Elsewhere in the Bible, the rootezer means "strength.... the word is most frequently used to describe how God is an ezerto man.
  • K'enegdo: It is hard to know exactly what the word k'enegdo means because it only appears once in the entire Bible. Neged, is a related word which means "against" or "exactly corresponding to," like when you look at yourself in a mirror."

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