Saturday, December 18, 2010

Why Are People Celebrating Women Outnumber Men at High Council As Progress?

I am somewhat perplexed by a host of Salvation Army blogs and other blogs by Salvationists that are making a big deal out of the upcoming High Council having more female representatives than male. They make it sound like this is a sign of great progress.

What gives? When did we stop thinking? Has our bloviating shut down our ability to reason? When did we settle for a shadow of the real thing?

Last decade, once the General elevated the spouses of TCs to the rank of the spouse, every High Council going forward was bound to have females equaling or outnumbering males. It is a demographic reality. Rarely are male TCs single, and even then, their wives are deceased. Single female TCs or IHQ department heads are a much more common occurrence than single male TCs. Hence, it takes only one female as a TC or IHQ department head to bring about females outnumbering males at a High Council.

A big measure of progress on female equality about which to crow would be either a) one of the married female High Council attendees being elected General rather than the husband, or b) that a female married officer is appointed to be a TC rather than the husband.

For well over century, theoretically both "a" and "b" have been possible but neither has happened, and it is not likely to occur in the foreseeable future. How many Salvationists truly believe that one of the married women at the High Council will be nominated ahead of her husband? How sad it is that none of us envision that happening. Does this mean that we do not have highly gifted females who are married to men who may have skills and talents, but less so than the wife?

I do not take such a dim view of our female officers. As Catherine Booth noted, it is not due to lack of nature on the female's part, but a lack of nurture and opportunity that married female officers are not in a position for either "a" or "b" to happen. Once either "a" and "b" happening more often we then will have something to celebrate.

Even before the wide spread of the suffrage movement the Army had female leaders. We had a great start and were well ahead of the crowd, but now where are we? It is unfortunate the western world has long passed us with regard to female leadership and equality so much so that we brag about females outnumbering males at the High Council.