The highest priority that I see for The Episcopal Church in the work for women’s equality is to provide a place where women’s dreams of equality can be fully realized. I am a child of Title IX. Growing up in the 80s, I had opportunities to learn ballet and gymnastics and yet was also able to play on several sports teams. At home, I was encouraged to work in the garage with my dad and in the kitchen with my mom. At school, I was the only girl on the middle school math team and given equal opportunities in male dominated college classes that I took. I had strong female role models and felt I could do anything with little or no thought to my gender.
But when I entered the “real world,” I soon realized that the expectations of women had not caught up to that ideal. When I began to work for the church, I was not paid equally with another lay male employee because “he had a family to support,” and I was given only three weeks maternity leave after the birth of my second child. I now work with women clergy who wonder if a church will accept a female rector or are offered positions as assistant rectors in charge of children’s ministries.
In The Episcopal Church, we profess the same ideals of Title IX. We teach our children that they can grow up to do anything. I hope we will continue and improve on the great work that we are doing to create an environment where lay and clergy women can live into that ideal — equal opportunities, equal pay, and equal benefits.
Andrea McKellar is a lay deputy from the Episcopal Church in South Carolina.