The quest for gender equality in the bible: indigenous knowledge perspectives on the church’s position towards women and leadership in Africa
The biblical book of the Old Testament (OT) portrays that the patriarchal society in ancient Israel viewed women as second-class citizens. In the modern-day church, the deliberate ignorance to recognize the significant roles played by women is ever present. The above notion makes this study more critical as well as relevant. This article brings into perspective the following two critical questions: (1) How did the Bible address gender issues during ancient biblical times? (2) What is the Church’s position on women and readership? (3) How are women regarded generally among sub-Saharan African societies? In an attempt to answer the above questions, the following four key issues will be examined: First, the article investigates the Bible and its portrayal about women in order to set an agenda towards appropriating such an investigation into the contemporary context in which the Bible plays a part in oppressing women. Second, significant roles played by women during ancient biblical times are discussed. Third, the study attempts to examine the position of the church1 on the leadership of women. Examples of churches will be drawn from the following representative list: The Baptist Church, the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church. Fourth, sub-Saharan African societies in general and their perspectives about women and leadership roles are also explored. In the final analysis, this study offers some suggestions towards gender equality in our modern post-biblical society.
Keywords: Gender equality, Indigenous Knowledge, Church, Women, Leadership, Africa