Saturday, April 13, 2024

Women Need More Opportunities To Decline

I'm the head of our parish council. At a recent meeting, one of the topics came from the Vatican and Pope Francis' push to give more power to women within the Church.

First, I have no idea what he's saying. Every parish I've ever seen is run by women. The husbands are working and the wives are volunteering. Every single parish has been like this. Just what opportunities women are missing are beyond me.

Further, I'd bet that about half our priests, bishops and cardinals are gay. From the parish on up, it's hard to see where the Clint Eastwood types are hiding. Still, they must be there, keeping women oppressed, because this is a big deal for the pope.

Maybe I've got a skewed view of the situation for some reason. I don't really care whether I do or not. I don't plan on sticking around in this gig if it's going to end up like my career where I worked at a place whose internal corporate newspaper took swipes at me in every issue. Every single time, there was a story about this woman, that minority, the gay guy across the hall or the transgender, one-legged Eskimo driving the courier van and how much each of them had to overcome. Always implied was that I was the thing they had to overcome, the straight, white male oppressor.

That was irritating, but tolerable because they paid me money. The Church doesn't pay me a dime. I don't see any reason to volunteer to experience that particular déjà vu.

Finally, I took the job when it was announced that our existing chair had to step down. In a room full of candidates, the priest asked for volunteers. It was only after the silence got awkward that I said I'd do it. All the women present had an opportunity to seize power and none of them did.

That's the real lesson here. If you don't take advantage of the leadership opportunities you're given, it might be a good idea to stop yapping about women not having enough of them.

Her: "They offered me the COO position, but I don't see why I have to play second to a man."

Him: (God, I wish she'd shut up and go away.)

Cat: (There aren't enough treats in the world to make this worthwhile. I see a hairball in her shoes in the very near future.)


tim eisele said...

I don't know as I'd call being the unpaid chairman of a non-profit organization like a parish council much of a plum leadership position. I've been drafted to chair the board of a non-profit myself, and these positions are basically all responsibility and no power. The only thing I actually have the power to do, is make sure that meetings don't run on forever. Which is something, but not much. Thankless, in other words. The general approach to succession in the various boards I have seen, is to recruit a new board member, and then quickly draft them into being the Chair before they fully realize that it is not a great job.

Ohioan@Heart said...


Yes “leadership” of a non-profit organization is not a plum assignment. I did my bit of purgatory by being on the board of a couple of youth baseball boards. As soon as I was elected one of the out going members took me aside and told me ‘I know you know that you can’t please everybody. What you don’t know is that you can’t please anybody. So do what you think is right. That way you’ll be able to sleep at night.” I took that as my mantra. Not only for the combined decade on those boards, but for my work life as well. I’m sure I pissed people off, but I did sleep well (and still do).


My experience with leadership is that people either are or aren’t leaders. The ones that aren’t try to cover it by being very controlling. Those that are find people they can trust and turn them loose. Oh, and the advice above fits to your case as well. Do what you think is right. Do that and I know you won’t go far wrong.