To summarise “Women Rising” by Meghan Tschanz is a challenge. It is a memoir of a girl becoming a woman in a brutal and broken world. Through her naive eyes, the reader journeys around the global reflecting on the stories of the women she encounters. These women are suffering immensely from gender based violence, surviving sex trafficking, and so much more. Their wounds are deep and raw and difficult to read. However, through seeing their pain, Meghan comes to understand her own, and she finds the universality of female oppression and abuse, of injustice, as well as the power of compassion and love.
Meghan’s upbringing, in a conservative, Christian segment of America, taints her understanding of the world and the abuse she endured. As she ventures out, her paradigms are shattered both in a traumatic way and in a healing way. She can see and come to terms with the abuse she suffered, naming it, by seeing it inflicted on someone else. As she ventures to protect and help those suffering, she offers herself more compassion and creates space for herself to heal. As is often the case with trauma, healing takes time and happens in increments sometimes to small to see. Meghan’s experience highlights this as she boldly shares what she feels and does each step of the way.
As I put the book down, I felt much as Meghan did at a point in her journey, deeply frustrated. The injustice in the world is overwhelming. The pain we inflict on each other is horrifying. The deeply woven prejudice seemingly unchangeable. The book paints a bleak picture of all the world is fighting. It is a motivator to do something to change the way we live, the culture we. live in and treatment we accept. From this comes my one criticism of the book, I am inspired to help but unclear as to what to do next.
If you are looking for a deep dive on how inequality is shaping lives the world over, this one is for you. Well-written, thoughtful and moving, I highly recommend it. It’s four out of five on the enJOYment scale.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from InterVarsity Press through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
From the back cover:
Fresh out of college, hating her job, 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 the woman’s 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 Meghan Tschanz’s personal journey of transformation. But it’s also a Christian blueprint for anyone wanting to confront injustice against women while pointing to a biblical standard for gender equality. With humility and grit, Meghan calls Christian women to amplify their voices for righteousness—and she calls the church to listen.