Pioneer Evangelical Feminist Nancey Hardesty Dies: Rest in Peace
In 1974, the evangelical publisher, Word Books, published a groundbreaking work, All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today by Nancey A. Hardesty and Letha Dawson Scanzoni. My mother, an evangelical Methodist and a budding feminist in 1974, brought home a copy. About a year later, I read it and it changed my views on the equality of sexes (in home, church, and society) forever. Word Books eventually went out of business, but two other publishers published new editions of this classic and Hardesty and Scanzoni, together with their friend, Virginia Ramey Mollenkott, went on to found the Evangelical Women’s Caucus which later became the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women’s Caucus and helped to publish Daughters of Sarah from 1974 to 1995–the first journal for Christian feminists.
Today, after 2 years battling pancreatic cancer, Nancey Hardesty has passed away. The Christian Century has more details here.
Although my daughters have grown up in a very different environment (their mother is an ordained Baptist minister, our pastor is another Baptist minister and they have known numerous women preachers and theologians, as well as living in a world where more and more countries are led by women and 3 of the last 4 Secretaries of State in the U.S. have been women), I have still urged them to read All We’re Meant to Be in their teens.
I will mourn Hardesty’s passing, but even more I will mourn that U.S. evangelicals are less open to biblical feminism TODAY than they were in the 1970s–or so it seems.