The global stage has long presented a plethora of leadership models through the centuries, many of which depict how not to lead. Unfortunately, many of our current leaders exhibit extreme self-focus, power addiction and cultural insensitivity, as opposed to manifesting servant focused, life affirming, and transformational leadership qualities.
But there is a better way. Heaven’s plan has always been to raise up men and women called to serve and lead with pure hearts. Clearly, humanity is in great need of ethical, caring, and integrity informed leaders. It is, however, important to acknowledge that, with notable exceptions, the leadership realm has historically been a male domain – many of whom execute their calling very well. But what if the leadership field was more gender inclusive? What if women, equally called to lead for the common good, were more fully encouraged, mentored, and supported in their leadership giftings at the academic and professional levels? What if women and men empowered one another to lead well?
The transformational leader is one who sees life through the lens of heaven, who sees the need of the small, the lonely, the dispossessed, and reacts uncompromisingly with the heart of the Triune God – a radical love defined by both the Fatherhood and Motherhood of God. Trinitarian Theology reveals The Father, Son and Spirit as the one true God exemplifying all the virtues of a perfect character – a creative God of deep fortitude and strength who is, interestingly, referenced biblically as exhibiting both masculine and feminine traits. Most of us are familiar with God as Father, but when described as a woman in labor in Isaiah (42:14), and as an attentive mother nursing and comforting her child (66:10-13), we are invited to celebrate a God who also loves with the heart of a mother.
Comparing himself to that of a hen protectively gathering her children under the safety of her wings (Matthew 23:37 & Luke 13:34), Jesus embraced the feminine proclivities to courageously love, protect, and defend – to intercede for the vulnerable – suggesting that critical aspects of the masculine and feminine are designed to work together in life and ministry. As a result, it is reasonable to conclude that the leadership of women, as a theological construct and in subsequent methodology, is vitally important to the global flow and work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Indeed, studies reveal that women bring inclusivity, empathy, and broader communication skills to the leadership table (Scott, 2014, Dare Mighty Things). “They are better communicators and listeners, more nurturing, more willing to involve others in decision making, and more likely to roll up their sleeves and work with the team” (Wilson, 2004, Closing the Leadership Gap).
So, how do we authentically deal with the gender gap in leadership? BGU’s academic track, Women in Leadership Studies (WLS), addresses this critical need by activating key ideologies and applications, relevant to sustainably empowering women in developing their leadership callings – through sociologically, theoretically, and theologically informed study. This track comprises three courses:
- WLS 601/701 – Mentoring Women in the Professions: Emerging Theories (Dr. Claire Henry);
- WLS 602/702 – Women Leaders as Catalysts for Collaborative Community Building and Advocacy (Dr. Maria Pompea);
- WLS 603/703 – Programs That Empower Women (Dr. Claire Henry),
These areas of study address the attributes and challenges of professional women (WLS 601/701), the development of change making community advocacy skills (WLS 602/702), and empowerment methodologies relative to the health and economic well being of women (WLS 603/703). Together, these courses exemplify BGU’s commitment to empower women to lead well in a diverse, complex, and radically changing world.
It is vitally important that women step confidently and equally onto the global leadership platform, fully integrating their own leadership perspectives into the redemptive leadership narrative. In representing both the Fatherhood and Motherhood of a gracious God, faith integrated men and women leaders present the transformative capacity to lead with courage, wisdom and heart. And BGU is actively supporting this capacity by offering cutting edge academic, spiritual, and community-based options to women called by our Triune God to lead.