Equality for Women

1970 Church of the Brethren Resolution

As part of the worldwide concern for human rights for all persons, the time has come to confront the conditions which prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and exercising the freedom of choice which is their right as human beings.

As the body of Christ, the church is committed to persons affirming their full worth and humanity. Out of our biblical understanding of God’s covenant with persons and concern far the quality of human life we bring this proposal:

Whereas, women’s roles have been narrowly defined, not permitting them the many options which allow freedom to fulfill their human potential, and

Whereas, the law does not prohibit discrimination account of sex and

Whereas, women are generally excluded from equal participation in the institutions, organizations, and labor market of our society, and

Whereas, women must he considered to be a minority group because they lack political and financial power, are excluded from influence in the main stream American life, and are therefore characterized by self-debasing attitudes, it is time for the church to support action to bring women into full participation in the main stream of American society exercising all the privileges and responsibilities there in truly equal partnership with men;

Therefore, be it resolved by the Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren, convened in Lincoln, Nebraska, June 23, 1970, that the General Board directed to:

  • appoint a committee composed of at least 50% women to write a major paper stating the church’s position on women in our church and society The committee will be committed to dealing with the following issues but will not be limited to them: and
    • women as a minority group
    • women under the law
    • creative ways the church can assume leadership in creating new life styles and redefining sex roles
    • women in leadership positions in the church at all levels
  • consider the possibility of creating vehicles and to educate and sensitize persons, institutions and organizations to their dehumanizing attitudes towards women.
  • investigate the feasibility of creating and funding specialized ministries which will increase the option from which women may choose enabling them to create more equitable life styles such as:
    • creative child care
      • designed to free women to participate more fully in the life of the church, including Annual Conference
      • designed to free women to participate more fully in society at large
    • vocational counseling
      • encouraging women to use their full potential in church leadership
      • encouraging women to use their full potential in society at large
  • support the Equal Rights Amendment (S.J. Res. 31 and H.J. Res. 264- “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”) which has developed out of resolutions which have been presented to every Congress since 1923, via:
    • encouragement of local churches as well as individuals to petition their Washington Senators and Representatives to vote for this amendment to the United States Constitution
    • a denominational statement of support for the amendment
    • allocation of funds at all levels to send female representatives of the church to witness for the amendment
  • report annually to the Annual Conference on progress toward achieving these goals

The position of Standing Committee was presented by Mrs. Robert Pittman.

The position of 1970 Annual Conference: The request of the resolution was granted and the paper was referred to the General Board for study and action.