The angriest I have ever seen our former Young Women president was after Ward Council one week. The previous year the Young Women & Young Men agreed to pool funds to buy nice camping gear with the express understanding that nothing Young Men or Scouting related would be scheduled during Girls’ Camp since that’s the only time the young women would need the equipment. As soon as she found out the Girls’ Camp dates from the stake, she brought that information to the Young Men president. “Oh, Girls’ Camp is that week? Man, I wish I had known. We scheduled High Adventure that week.” She went to the Bishop, but he sided with the YM president because they scheduled their event first. She pointed out that part of the joint purchase agreement was use of the equipment for the one week of Girls’ Camp and that she had to wait for the stake to assign dates. Didn’t matter.
My mother has a twin brother, and my own brother is just a year older than me. All growing up, we each watched our brothers be publicly recognized for their “worthiness,” climb the priesthood ladder, enjoy thrilling church/scouting activities/campouts, and receive badge after badge for doing things girls are just as capable of but couldn’t get approved.
– Sarah A.
I was called to be the Young Women president several years ago. In Ward Council, each auxiliary president discussed the needs of their organization and were either given suggestions or offers of assistance to help them overcome the hurdles or problems they spoke about. Every time we met, I spoke out about how I was troubled about the message they were sending the girls (and the boys, frankly) that the boys were able to go white water rafting and rappelling and going to Rocky Point (yes!!!! Out of the country!!), and we were turned down time after time to go to Conference or even just out of the ward boundaries (except for Girls’ Camp). I was told we could have some “fine” activities at the ward building without having to drive anywhere out of the boundaries. Every Sunday, I would raise the subject, and every Sunday, they would cut me off after one minute and move to the brethren. After a month of this, I was “kindly” uninvited to Ward Council and told I caused too much tension by wanting to bend the rules, and the bishop would meet with me one on one. It’s a good thing this happened before I had my own girls because I just may have walked out of that office and never looked back. I wanted to quit the calling right there but I vowed that I would NEVER give up the fight and that I would, at every possible opportunity, let them know how wrong their horribly chauvinistic stances were and how irresponsible it was to give these young women the idea that this behavior was not only ok, but just “how it is” in the church. Ugh.
– Kelly C.
I was in a youth fireside meeting with my daughters, and a member of our stake presidency was speaking. He was trying to connect with the youth about feeling the Spirit and talked about a meeting he attended as a young LDS teen and about how the sacrament was being passed there. Up to that point, he was making a good point applicable to all. But then he pivoted to talk about how he felt being able to pass the sacrament to all the youth in attendance, and I realized that he had just left all the Young Women behind.
I mentioned this observation to him after the meeting, and to his credit, he recognized the error.
– Lori LeVar Pierce
A bishop told the Young Women president that all activities had to have a spiritual theme no matter what while the Scouts did whatever they wanted at the same time.
– Alisha Upwall
When I was Primary president, my daughter was the first person to reach age 12 and graduate out of Primary during my “reign.” I asked the bishop what we do for them. He said they don’t really get or do anything. Then a few months later, a boy turned 12. The bishop commented that we need to do something since this was such a momentous time for him! I was horrified. I couldn’t believe that he would totally discount the girls but make a big deal out of the boys!! Needless to say, nothing was done for him since nothing was done for my daughter.
Pro Tip: Carefully examine the programs for youth in your ward and see what you can do to make them more equitable. Imagine that the Young Women have the budget, opportunities, and activities that the Young Men have had, and vice versa. Do things still seem fair? Constantly evaluate and strive for parity and great opportunities for all youth whenever possible.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)