Tracing Gender Inequality in Church Leadership: A Case of Burundi Evangelical Churches
Keywords:Burundi, Gender Inequality, Women, Church, Leadership, Culture, Image of God
Gender parity in leadership has been an issue in Burundian society and the church. The study examines attitudes towards women’s leadership in evangelical churches in Burundi and how this could influence the spiritual, social, and economic life of the women in the church. A right biblical interpretation is desirable because male church leaders ho deny women church leadership roles base their positions on the Bible and Burundi’s culture and traditions. This article seeks to redirect and refocus the attention of policymakers of Burundi’s evangelical churches to areas not previously explored in church management and leadership, such as participatory church leadership and the moral implications of the Image of God concept. It argues that men and women have equal status, value and dignity before God. Further, this article traces the role of women in the traditional Burundi culture. The critical correlation method was used in this study on the perception of gender leadership in Burundi’s evangelical churches. The study showed that some church leaders unsupportive of women’s leadership cite social and cultural reasons, claiming that no woman in Burundi culture had participated in the grassroots council; hence women could not lead even in church. Others misinterpret biblical verses and traditional beliefs to suit their cultural interpretations.