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Women in International Development

In what ways have women contributed to development within their society and/or community?

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Reflection: Women in Cross-Cultural Leadership

WCIU Journal: Women in International Development Topic

September 27, 2017

by Beth Snodderly

In Darrell Guder’s book, The Continuing Conversion of the Church, this quote indicates to me a need for women in leadership:

“This [Kingdom] community must also move against the current of its culture in its relationship to the exercise of domination and power” (p. 137).

Since women are not normally part of the Western male-dominated culture of power, they have the potential to set an example of a counter-cultural approach to leadership that does not seek to dominate and control.

I used to say that I thought it was very appropriate for me to be serving in a particular leadership role in the broad field of international development because as a woman I could relate on more or less a peer level with non-Western NGO leaders. On the other hand, a man in a similar leadership role is too often seen as someone to defer to, and leaders from historically dominated cultures may not feel their ideas will be seen as being as valuable. The result could be that their valuable and culturally-informed ideas may lie dormant, or else they may try to go ahead with their own ideas without the synergy and assistance that could have boosted their effectiveness.

Either way, it seems to me that Western women can empower male as well as female leaders in non-Western contexts. And this can demonstrate biblical principles, such as “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Beth Snodderly, D Litt et Phil, is a past president of William Carey International University and is the editor for both the  William Carey International Development Journal  and the  Ralph D. Winter Research Center .

Beth Snodderly, D Litt et Phil, is a past president of William Carey International University and is the editor for both the William Carey International Development Journal and the Ralph D. Winter Research Center.

Editorleadership, women, BibleComment