Working at gender equality

following last weeks post about the importance of gender equality I thought I would share some of how we are trying to work that out in the department that I lead in Tearfund. The integral mission department works with churches and individuals in the Uk and around the world to help them understand and start living out integral (or holistic) mission. We agreed this approach to gender last year because we want to live out our values. We are not there yet but we are committed to the journey. Hope its useful.


As a Group we are committed to gender equality which we understand as the Biblical basis for God-ordained partnership between men and women in all spheres of life.  We aspire to create a working environment where both genders are supported, encouraged and enabled to fulfil their God-given potential.

This policy is designed to help us achieve this by articulating clear commitments against which we can assess our group culture and practices.

Group Leader’s statement

As a male leader I am committed to gender equality.  I believe that men and women together make up the image of God and so I believe that when men and women work in true partnership they come closest to fulfilling God’s purposes, representing his character and nature to the world and reaching their God-planted potential.  This means that for both operational and theological reasons I want to do everything within my power to ensure that both men and women are empowered and released to work together.  Moreover I am aware of the bias of our history and culture towards male leadership, and of the blindness that power brings and so for reasons of justice I seek to be proactive in creating a team environment where women as well as men feel valued and are enabled to participate actively, challenge the team, lead when appropriate, and be actively encouraged to reach their full potential.  My aspiration is that this policy would facilitate a shared set of expectations and behaviours related to gender and form the basis for genuine conversation (and challenge) within the team.

David Westlake

As a team we commit ourselves to the following behaviours, and will annually submit to an audit of our performance against these commitments:

Every team member feels able and encouraged to express their opinions in interactions:

  • With their line manager
  • With other team members
  • In team meetings
  • In meetings involving other team members with external groups or individuals

Every team member feels that their contributions are valued and does not feel belittled, ridiculed, excluded or overlooked, particularly in relation to their sex, in interactions:

  • With their line manager
  • With other team members
  • In team meetings
  • In meetings involving other team members with external groups or individuals

This includes particularly consideration of the use of language and humour.

Every team member feels able to participate in decision-making, as appropriate to their role and the context of the decision.

Every team member feels that they are trusted with significant work within the scope of their job description and capabilities, and given opportunities to develop towards future roles.

Team members feel that power is shared between both sexes within the team and that real gender partnership is the context for the team’s work.

Where we have a platform to communicate to others within and without of Tearfund and the Micah Network we will give a balanced profile to both sexes through

    • Participation of our team members
    • The stories we tell
    • The practitioners, theologians and communities we profile

As we work to promote Integral Mission we will, with sensitivity and respect, challenge perceptions of Integral Mission which do not challenge gender injustice.  As individuals and as a team we commit to name gender injustice when we see it (as it relates to our work) and articulate a Biblical perspective on gender complementarity without hierarchy.