All the way from north Georgia to Boston, my four-year-old Christianna punctuated the hours with, “Are we there yet?”
“No, baby,” we’d answer, “we’re not there yet.” Then we’d pull out the map to offer the children another geography lesson. As we sailed up I-81, I began to consider the philosophical implications of my little girl’s question, “Are we there yet?”
It has never occurred to Christianna that she lives in a world where being female will often count against her. She hasn’t yet learned about women like Susan B. Anthony who had to fight the male establishment for decades so that someday women would be able to vote. She does not know that voting is still the only right constitutionally guaranteed to women today.
Christianna sees Mommy excel in the business world and bring home a good paycheck. She doesn’t know that in America, the average woman earns only 70 cents on the dollar compared to men with the same qualifications. She does not know the top three questions women are asked in job interviews: Are you married? Do you have children? Who’s going to take care of your children while you work? She doesn’t know that answering these questions “wrong” means a lower paycheck, or none at all.
When Mommy ran for office, it did not strike Christianna as unusual. She has not yet noticed that the government is owned by men, with less than 20% representation by women. She does not understand what people mean when they dismiss Hillary Clinton with “America is not ready for a woman.” (I’m not sure I understand the meaning of that comment myself.)
Christianna sees her home-educated sisters play soccer and hockey along with the boys. She doesn’t know that around the country, schools give much greater emphasis and funding to boys’ sports than girls’. She doesn’t have a clue what Title IX is, or just how many loopholes allow schools and communities to keep funneling most of the dollars and scholarship opportunities to the boys. She hasn’t heard that Georgia public schools now have the legal option to simply close their doors to female students – making Title IX a moot point.
Christianna is growing up in a home where Mommy and Daddy treat each other with respect and make decisions jointly. She hasn’t yet learned that many women in America face sexism in their own homes. She doesn’t know that women are more likely to be physically attacked or murdered by husbands than by strangers. She doesn’t know that women who report domestic violence often receive no help at all.
At church, Christianna receives most of her spiritual instruction from female teachers. She doesn’t know that radio preachers and best-selling authors claim women dishonor God when they teach the Bible. She hasn’t heard of “complementarians” like Wayne Grudum and John MacArthur who say that men and women are not equal before God. She hasn’t heard them dismiss her favorite Bible heroines Deborah and Miriam as aberrations used to shame men.
Christianna isn’t aware that many church denominations are shoving women backward to the days before the light of Christian feminism. She hasn’t heard of Baptist chaplains stripped of their endorsement just for being female. She doesn’t know about the missionaries who lost their funding because they refused to sign a statement of belief that men are above their wives.
Christianna lives in a safe haven where women are respected, honored and given opportunity to succeed. Soon enough she will discover the hazards of being female. She’ll find out that she has to work longer and harder to succeed – and that people of both sexes will despise her when she does.
“Are we there yet?”
“No, baby, we’re not there yet . . .”
- Jeannie Babb Taylor