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What is the proper role of women in churches and society? There’s an issue that’s been around since… well, forever.

But where are we in 2014?  As we begin our Women in Religion theme, our youngest generation had a chance to share their ideas around gender roles, expectations, and stereotypes in their Sunday School classes.  I was lucky enough to overhear some great conversation in our classes, as well as getting reports from our teachers.

Good news first:

  • Gender-segregated toys?  We are so over that.  Both of our young classes insist that everyone should be able to play with whatever toy they like.
  • We all agree that it’s not ok to exclude people from activities or jobs based on gender.
  • We want to see all people as individuals, more than just their gender.

From conversations and stories told, we see that there’s still room to grow:

  • There’s still an assumption that only boys have muscles.  No one appreciated that one—boys get tired of always being asked to move furniture, and girls find it ridiculous to be dismissed as strong.
  •  “Feminism” is still a loaded term. Equality seems easier to take.

The middle school class spent some time talking about how sometimes the words used can distract us—it is hard to agree with someone’s ideas when their message is delivered disrespectfully and the “Anything you can do I can do better” argument is especially off-putting.  Finding common ground is not always easy, and it is just one of the wonderful things that can happen when we come together.

If you haven’t seen it yet, we’re lifting up a woman from our Unitarian Universalist heritage every day—look for the links on our Facebook page, on Pinterest , or the bulletin board outside the Religious Education office (Room 102).