Middle East (MNN) — March 8, 2021, marks the 110th International Women’s Day – a celebration of women’s achievements and a call for equal rights. More than one million people participated in the first IWD rallies in Europe in 1911, and March 8 became the official IWD date three years later.
Today, women are voiceless in many of the Middle East’s Muslim-dominated countries. “Life for women in the Middle East is so different than it is for us here in the West,” says JoAnn Doyle, co-founder of Uncharted Ministries.
“Often, they are not permitted to speak; or if they do speak, they have to be so careful that they don’t bring shame on anyone in their family or their community,” she continues, explaining the prevailing honor-shame culture.
“They are cloaked with this ‘veil’; they’re forced to hide their feelings so that they don’t bring harm on themselves.”
Doyle leads Not Forgotten, a division of Uncharted Ministries. They partner with believers in the Middle East who help women know God and follow Jesus. In a new book she co-authored with her husband, JoAnn describes how women find a new voice and value through Christ.
“In the Middle East, I’ve seen so many women that learned quickly they don’t have value. Then they meet Jesus and, for the first time in their life, feel love and acceptance,” she says.
“They’re like a dry sponge soaking up water, wanting to embrace what God has created for them. He created us to have value.”
On International Women’s Day, gift your favorite women with inspiration. Click here to order Women Who Risk: Secret Agents for Jesus in the Muslim World for a friend or loved one.
“Right now, we are choosing to honor women, which is a beautiful thing. But when we look at Scripture, God has honored women from creation. He created men and women equal in His image,” Doyle observes.
“If we want to know how women are honored, jump into the Word of God.”
Header image depicts women in Iran. (Photo courtesy of Majid Korang beheshti/Unsplash)