It’s 2016, yet patriarchy is alive and well across faith traditions.
Welcome to this special conversation with Jewish, Christian, and Muslim women on the unique challenges and opportunities of women’s religious leadership.
On April 5-7, online panelists — including Kathy Khang, Sojourners’ Emerging Voices leader and contributor to the (S)heroes interfaith series — shared their personal experiences and advice from one religion to another. More information about each panelist can be found below.
This blogcast is brought to you by Sojourners’ Women & Girls Campaign and our partners: the Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance (JOFA), Radical Grace, Muslims for Progressive Values, Ordain Women, FutureChurch, and Faithfully Feminist.
Many thanks to these fearless women for the rich conversation! We are all truly equal in faith.
Gina Messina-Dysert — Moderator
Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D., is Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College. She has taught at multiple universities including Claremont Graduate University, Loyola Marymount University, John Carroll University, and Notre Dame College. Gina is also Co-founder of Feminism and Religion, the global project that explores the “f-word” in religion and the intersection between scholarship, activism, and community. Feminism and Religion has readers in 181 countries. (@FemTheologian)
Kate Kelly is a zealous advocate and passionate activist. She has a J.D. from American University Washington College of Law, the only law school in the world founded by and for women. She is currently the Strategic Advocacy & Policy Counsel at the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah. In 2013, she founded a group called Ordain Women to advocate for gender equality in the Mormon Church. She was excommunicated from the church in June 2014 for speaking out against the fundamental exclusion of women, but her work for parity in religion continues unabated. (@Kate_Kelly_Esq @OrdainLDSWomen)
Christine Schenk, C.S.J., served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch where she served for 23 years. FutureChurch is a coalition of parish centered Catholics working for full participation of all Catholics in ministry and decision-making in the church. In October 2013, Schenk was named Executive Director Emerita of the organization. (@ChristineSchenk @RadGraceFilm)
Kathy KyoungAh Khang
Kathy KyoungAh Khang currently serves as a regional multiethnic ministries director with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF)/USA. Kathy is one of the authors of More Than Serving Tea and continues to write about the intersections of faith, culture, and gender on her personal blog by the same name. She is also an Emerging Voices leader and contributing writer at Sojourners, as well as Next Gener.Asian Church. Kathy has been a guest speaker for various Christian conferences and a lecturer at Wheaton College, Moody Bible Institute, and Trinity Evangelical Seminary. She and her husband Peter Chang currently live in the north suburbs of Chicago, have been married for almost 20 years, and are honored to be the parents of Bethany, Corban, and Elias. (@mskathykhang @SojoWomen @Sojourners)
Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman
Maharat Ruth Balinsky Friedman is a member of the inaugural class of Yeshivat Maharat, which is the first institution to ordain Orthodox women as spiritual leaders and halakhic (legal) authorities. She and her husband, Yoni, moved to Washington, D.C., in July 2013 to begin her position as Maharat at Ohev Sholom – The National Synagogue. Maharat Ruth’s responsibilities include overseeing the conversion program, developing procedures for new mikvah, directing the adult programming, providing pastoral counseling, teaching in the community, and more. Maharat Ruth is deeply committed to working to ensure that Jewish communal structures provide sensitivity and support to individuals and couples struggling with fertility challenges, and she is honored to serve on The Red Stone Advisory Committee. She is a proud member of both the Chicago and Washington Boards of Rabbis, and she sits on the Executive Committee of the board of the International Rabbinic Fellowship, of which she is also a member. Maharat Ruth is also a founding member of the Beltway VAAD. (@JOFAorg)
Ani Zonneveld is a writer, singer/songwriter, speaker, human rights defender, and founder and president of Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV), a grassroots faith-based human rights organization. Founded in 2007 in Los Angeles, MPV advocates for egalitarian expressions of Islam, for women’s rights, LGBTQI rights, freedom of expression, and freedom of and from religion or belief. MPV promotes these values at the United Nations by challenging human rights abuses in the name of Islam, by offering an inclusive understanding based on universal human rights and justice, and through its presence in 16 cities in 12 countries. As a speaker/singer, Ani’s message is of social justice, human rights, and peace from a progressive Muslim women’s perspective. Born and raised Muslim from Malaysia and based out of Los Angeles, she spearheads the progressive Muslim movement both internationally and in the U.S. (@AniZonneveld @mpvusa)