International (MNN) — Today is International Women’s Day. Per the International Women’s Day website, the day is set aside as a time to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women” and to mark “a call to action for accelerating gender parity”. The theme this year—balance for better.
“I love being a part of what the International Women’s Day is doing throughout the world. When you think about what it means to be balanced for better, it’s really just kind of having this world where women are invited to the table. Where we’re raising awareness about the differences between men and women, talking about equality, talking about respect, talking about inviting women to be a part of the conversations,” Trans World Radio’s Peggy Bank says.
“We want women to feel that they are valued, that they have a voice, and that they can contribute in every aspect of society.”
The day reaches into countries where women are considered “less than”. In some countries, women cannot discuss International Women’s Day in public. Instead, they need to steal away to secluded places where they can gather and discuss such topics in private. However, Banks emphasizes the importance for women all over to have these spaces where they can converse with one another, identify with one another, and know someone is listening to them.
Women of Hope
For TWR, International Women’s Day is also a chance to support women through the Gospel. Banks describes how the Gospel and feminism, in its original definition, are not at odds with each other.
“I think it’s a very Biblical definition, to bring about equality, to see that we are equal at the cross, that we all come with an identity as Christians, born to get back in the image of God. And so, a true understanding of what the word really means is saying that you and I, as women, are equal at the cross,” Banks explains.
“Women supported [Jesus’] ministry. They followed His ministry. They were part of the discussion. They were part of the ministry. They were part of the work that He did, and if anything, that should be happening more and more in our churches as well as in organizations around the world.”
TWR’s Women of Hope is specifically designed and directed towards women. It invites and uplifts women by educating, encouraging, and equipping them via the radio. For example, some women never have the opportunity to attend school. Banks says the Women of Hope program is the only education some women experience. This education is usually on basic applicable concepts the women are not taught, like how to feed their children, create a prosperous garden, raise their children, and more.
Women’s Need for Support
However, Women of Hope is not meant to alienate men, but help women connect and live into God’s call on their lives.
“There are many messages that are going out to women that are created by men, delivered by men, many pastors, wonderful pastors. But when you see a conversation that happens with women in the workplace, in the churches, in our homes, in the villages, coming together to share on the Bible, to share on topics that women are facing, sometimes you know we can identify with each other a little bit more as women, certainly women who are oppressed in countries,” Banks says.
Celebrating and equipping women is not done by women alone. There are many men who listen to and support women through Women of Hope. Through listening to the program, some men’s view and treatment of their wives have changed for the better. In fact, Banks reveals some men have joined their prayer groups. And you can support Women of Hope, too!
Women of Hope has prayer movements in 125 countries and 100 languages. It also offers radio programs structured around a practical topic and a spiritual lesson.
“We have a tool that antitrafficking organizations are used to help women, who are rescued from human trafficking, find Jesus and just find healing spiritually through the Gospels. We also have other projects, other Bible studies. Projects that deal with specific issues that women are facing in some countries…We have prison ministries, hospital ministries, so lots of things you can learn on our website and then get plugged in and join with us,” Banks says.
Also, pray for the ministry, the programs it provides, and the women it is reaching. Pray for the women who rely on Women of Hope, even when they have to live out their faith in silence.
Another way to help is by financially getting behind Women of Hope’s ministry.
To give, click here!
Header photo courtesy of Omar Lopez on Unsplash.