International Women’s Day was celebrated throughout Tintern Grammar, from guest speakers to awareness activities during assembly, to the distribution of ribbons in the three colours – white, purple and green amongst students and staff, with all the activities aiming to educate and celebrate.
The girls in the Middle School were given the opportunity to sign four pledges for parity:
1. To be a catalyst for change
2. To not use degrading terms for women
3. To value women and men’s contributions equally
4. To not encourage gender roles or stereotypes
As we approach Easter, near on 2000 years since the very first Easter, I look at these pledges and once more stand in awe of Jesus because in his life he lived out all four.
This is especially seen in the Bible text of his visit to the house of Mary and Martha found in Luke’s Gospel.
At the Home of Martha and Mary
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
On first reading, it appears that Jesus is telling Martha off, but in fact, the greater message of this text can be found in where Mary is and what she is doing.
Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to what he has to say. This was a place reserved for only men, for the disciples. By commending Mary on her choice, Jesus is articulating that women and men have the equal right to education and both can be disciples. Revolutionary considering the time and setting of Jesus ministry 2000 years ago.
Throughout his ministry, Jesus champions the rights of all who find themselves marginalised because of race, age, gender or health. To follow the teachings of Jesus is embody the love of all people, to recognise who is being left out, to include them and then to challenge the structures that put them there.
by Alison Andrew, School Chaplain