An Evangelical Woman and a Scholar

by Anna Blanch on July 31, 2008

I recently unearthed this article by Diana Hochstedt Butler in a 1993 edition of Christian century, titled Between two worlds: evangelical, female – and a scholar. Butler expresses some serious frustration about the treatment of women in academia and it made me wonder whether things have changed.

Butler writes:

I am an evangelical woman with a Ph.D. in religion who is pursuing an academic career. By attending graduate school and following my academic interests, I feel as if I have left my home planet and my internal navigation systems have been thrown off. Like the Robinson family in the old television series “Lost in Space,” I face strange and hostile aliens. On one side I am challenged by fellow evangelicals who question whether a woman should have any career outside the home, much less one teaching church history and theology; on the other, my academic colleagues doubt that the words “evangelical,” “female” and “academic” can be used in the same sentence–unless that sentence reads, “Evangelicals hate female academics.”

Have things changed?

My experience has, thankfully, not been that of Diana Hochstedt Butler. This could, in part, be because my research field is not strictly theology, but theology and literature. It could also be because Academia, though populated by many more men than women – particularly in terms of higher level academic appointments, is vastly more even in gender terms than the two other professional fields in which I have worked. Butler’s statements are, in any case, thought-provoking.

It should be noted that Hochstedt Butler is better known as Diana Butler Bass and more about her can be found at her official website and her wikipedia entry.

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