1. Get Angry (take action)
Often, our first reactions to suffering and injustice are tears for those in pain, and anger at the perpetrators. Like the Psalmist, we should get angry when we see exploitation and cruelty and we should turn our anger into positive action. Which scripture ref?
Christians are traditionally pretty good at responding to those who are hungry, in prison and naked (or at least we give money to charities that address those needs). But we do less well at turning our anger at injustice into action.
So, get involved with a campaign that aims to stop injustice e.g. sign a petition, don't buy products from companies that exploit children or don't pay fair wages, protest against the brothel on the man street of town, don't let your government reject refugees.
In Chapter 3, you read about Lyn and Joe Lusi's work to heal fistulas. A campaign that is trying to stop the appalling violence against women and girls in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has a number of practical actions that aim to raise awareness; stop the flow of illicit funds to militia groups that perpetrate violence; and link our actions in Sydney or San Francisco to the lives of girls and women in the Congo.
You can find a variety of campaign ideas in the online resource produced by Micah Challenge – see www.useby2015.org
Remember, don't stay angry – it will just make you bitter or cynical. God wants to turn our anger into action that brings hope.
Organise an event to raise awareness about issues in these studies. The best way to win people over is with good arguments, evidence, a dose of charm and some passion, just like Esther in the Bible.
You could hold a dinner, have a stall at a community event, run a sporting event or dress up and hand out leaflets at the train station/bus stop. You could hold a prayer vigil.
You could invite your local politician and other leading community leaders to the event.
Get friends and other groups involved – it helps with the workload and helps to show Christianity in a positive light.
3. Use your voice (or fingers)
It is an incredible privilege to live in a democracy where we can speak out. We should not leave the public space to professional lobbyists or activists.
Got 20 minutes? Write letters/emails to the government urging just action. We need strong laws to protect trafficked women, people imprisoned for their faith, girls forced into marriage and women who are victims of violent conflict.
Use the same method with business about ethical production, fair wages or sustainable development.
Don't know what to say? There are heaps of examples already out there and as time goes on, you will get more confident.
Groups like Amnesty, Speak and RESULTS know the value of people taking the time to write a personal letter to those in authority.
Got 120 minutes? Make an appointment to see your local politician about issues facing women and girls in poverty. Ask their views, clearly express yours. Once you have visited, you will want to do it again!
4. Get networked
Woman to Woman is a unique venture which has only just got under way. It gives you the opportunity to learn more, to take local actions and be involved in campaigns advocating for justice.
It is an online community with stories (and we'd love to hear your stories), Bible material, prayer ideas, action ideas, poverty information and more.
Many denominations have women's networks and you could encourage yours to do advocacy through Woman to Woman.
Gossip on facebook/twitter and over coffee about issues covered in these studies.
Chat to friends, your family about something very practical you could do for women suffering injustice. It may involve raising money for a project that helps girls and women, it may mean you get involved in a local project with teenage mums, or elderly women or refugees.
Talk about the Bible's views on poverty, injustice and women. Too often, these topics are seen as secondary to prayer and evangelism but the studies should have given you some ammunition against that view!
I want to...
“Destiny can be killed by a word. We can help girls, especially on the margins, to release their gifts and potential.”
Maureen Shana, Zimbabwe
“900 million women and girls around the world are denied opportunity and hope by poverty. Women own only 1% of the world’s wealth. Half a billion cannot read or write.”
“Whether God has called you to set up shop in a big corner office or at your kitchen table; to minister to large groups or to one person in need; to give 40 hours a week or to be responsive to unexpected moments here and there; what you have to offer matters.”
Lynne Hybels, “Nice Girls Don’t Change the World”