In a nutshell, I treat women like adults. As far as I am concerned, this is how “equality” works functionally.
That means, just as we hold men responsible for the outcomes of their choices, I believe in the same for women.
That means, in the workplace, the women are graded for their performance on the same scale as the men. If a man is required to maintain a certain level of productivity X, the same is true for his female colleague.
That means women are to be afforded the same human dignities as the men.
That means women are evaluated for their actual decisions, not merely on their stated intentions. Just like the men.
In terms of compensation, a women is a free market agent, just like a man. She is free to play as much hardball as she wishes, pursue any education path she wants, and sink or swim. I’m all for her reaping the benefits of success, and suffering the agony of defeat. Just like the men. If she can command a better salary than a man, then she gets her due.
That, however, means she must live with the consequences of the choices that she makes toward that end. If she expects that “success” to make her more attractive to the men, that will not compute.
In the home, she is entitled to the life she wants. If she wants to be a SAHM, that is her business. Ditto for the feminist who wishes for an egalitarian home marriage. If she wants to ride the carousel and remain single, or remain single and NOT ride the carousel, then that is her call.
That, however, means she must live with the consequences of the choices that she makes toward that end. If she wishes to live out the Eat, Pray, Love type of life, then that’s her call. At the same time, she should be forced to recognize the cost of that choice. Just as we ought to expect from a man who bolts on his wife and kids. If she chooses to be a single mom, she should be on her own, with no help from the taxpayer except via personal or religious or other private charity. (If her husband ditched her, he should be forced to recognize the cost of child support.)
Some may look at what I am writing and call me “harsh” and “insensitive”. In fact, I am articulating what “equality” looks like.
How does that play out in the Church?
That means a woman does not need a man–other than Jesus, who is our High Priest–in order to approach God. She has the same access to the King of Kings that any man has. She is as free to worship God, petition for her needs, confess sins, ask for forgiveness, give thanks, as any man is.
Even if she is hosting Aunt Flo for that one week of the month, she need not recuse herself from worship. When Aunt Flo leaves, she need not go through a special purification process.
While–due to Biblical issues–she is precluded from certain offices, she otherwise enjoys a degree of liberation that is foreign in either Judaism or Islam, or even Hinduism.
While she is required to submit to her husband as to the Lord, her husband is under compulsion to treat her gently, respecting her as the weaker vessel. He is required to love her as Christ loves the Church. In that dynamic they are to be subject to each other.
In terms of sin, women are as responsible for it as the men are. Admonitions against malice, gossip, sexual immorality, covetousness, lust…they apply across the board. Women aren’t graded on a lighter scale than the men.
The bottom line: treating women like adults affords them both the rewards and the responsibilities for the paths they choose, on the same scale as the men. In other words, if you earn it, you own it. And that works both ways.
What about instances where there is obvious inequality?
A good example of this is physical strength.
If a woman wishes to pursue a track that relies on physical abilities, then I say by all means let her. But equality means she gets graded on the same scale as the boys. If a 21-year-old man has to perform at least 42 pushups, then she should have to do the same. If she wishes to go to Ranger School–and can qualify to get in–then she has to perform at the same level as the men. No exceptions.
In such a scenario, women will be outnumbered by men. This is science: men ARE stronger, as a group–and at the endpoints–than the women. Go ahead and call me sexist for acknowledging that. Call me a misogynist. Call me a chauvinist. I’ve got big shoulders, I can handle it. But let’s be honest here: if what I am saying were not the case, there would be no separate leagues for men’s and women’s tennis; women would be as common in the NFL as the men (and no, Tony Romo and Jay Cutler don’t count); military Special Operations units would have binders full of women.
But equality, put simply, treating women like adults, subject to risks and rewards thereof.
This gets at the heart of the greater part of what is considered “sexism” today. And yet, who is the more truly sexist, those who simply acknowledge the readily observable or those who deny it, and in denying it, remove from women the responsibility for being accountable for their words and actions. Feminism isn’t about sexual equality. It isn’t even about female superiority, per se. It is, rather, primarily concerned with according women formal adult status and privileges without adult responsibilities.