By Meghan Tschanz
InterVarsity Press, 2021
Paperback, 208 pages
Reviewed by Amy Rivers
In Women Rising: Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice, Meghan Tschanz shares her experiences as a woman and a missionary, providing an insightful and honest glimpse at women’s issues on a global scale and the ways in which modern missionary work is often at odds with the needs of the communities they intend to serve.
Fresh out of college and searching for meaning, Meghan Tschanz left everything to join a mission trip around the globe, and quickly witnessed oppression experienced by women that she never thought possible. Over the next several years, she befriended women around the globe who had survived sex trafficking, female genital mutilation, and violence so extreme Meghan wondered at their survival. Through listening to their stories, Meghan started to notice a pattern that pointed to systems of injustice that held women back―systems that her childhood church had taught and in which she was complicit. She was changed. Returning to the United States, Meghan became keenly aware of how the teachings and messaging surrounding women in her own upbringing were part of the problem. In the process, she began to find her voice, one that spoke out against injustice and moved her into tension with her Christian community.
Women Rising is a powerful story, in large part due to Tschanz’s willingness to look closely at her own participation in what she comes to see as white-saviorism. Her vulnerability is not only endearing but also refreshing. As she traveled the world, Tschanz learned about the violence and brutality women endured, and also their resilience in the face of it. She learned to listen and to see not only what was heartbreaking but also what was beautiful.
She does not appropriate these women’s stories. Instead, she weaves her experiences and observations with her struggle to understand her purpose, crafting a moving memoir that puts the global plight of women in the forefront while exploring the ways in which modern Christianity can be an oppressive force, training women to remain silent. Throughout her journey, Tschanz begins to understand how her upbringing kept her silent in the face of oppression and how her missionary training didn’t even come close to preparing her for the role she had set out to play.
In the end, Tschanz returns to the United States with a new purpose and a better understanding of her own humanity and her place in the world. Women Rising starts a dialogue about women, about gender roles in the Christian community, and about the importance of not only reclaiming one’s own voice but learning to listen to the voices all around us.
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© 2021 by Christian Feminism Today.
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