Women and Faith—an International Women’s Day Commemorative
Reprinted from March 2013 for Linda Tauhid’s Journal
My observations about women and their achievements has taught me that most women achieve and deliver not only based on a qualification and success models, but rather on a faith-based models that drive their achievement and success. These observations were informed by my grandmothers, my mother and other women mentors and friends that I have acquired during my lifetime.
Both of my grandmothers, Dora and Mary were Christian women who took their faith seriously. My Grandmother Mary was known to be in the ministry while my Grandmother Dora focused her faith activities on guiding our family of six children as we grew. Nana Dora also assisted my mother and father on more than one occasion as a family mediator as well as a financial contributor to our household.
My mother also operated with a faith-based world view. Although my Mom’s persona would seem a bit more worldly to the unstudied view, when I would come to her for help in some of life’s problems, she would always advise me to ‘do the right thing’. She told me that if you do the right thing, God will help you, if you don’t, then you don’t know.
One of my early mentors was the late Mrs. Isabella Ravenell. She was the wife of the minister of the local Baptist church that we attended as children and young adults. Mrs. Ravenell, besides being the leader of the church based Girl Scout Troop was an educator and later a principal in the public school system. She took a personal interest in my development as a young girl. Unfortunately, I was not always as cooperative or appreciative of Mrs. Ravenell’s efforts as I should have been, but at this point, I highly value the work and effort that she made in my development.
Later in my adulthood, Mrs. Ravenell continued to support me by attending a number of my public poetry readings that were held at a Boston Public Library. She also, brought Mrs. Johnson who was another Girls Scout leader of our troop. I was very honored to have these women support me even though I had often like a spoiled child when they were seeking to groom and mentor me.
As I proceeded through life, I found the need to establish a faith discipline to support me as the challenges of life presented themselves in increasingly complex fashion. I converted to Islam when I was twenty years old. I don’t think that I felt a necessity to deviate from the religion of my grandmothers, it was just that the Islamic faith presented itself to me at a time of need and with the solutions that were needed at that time and ever since. I have since utilized my Islamic faith to establish a world view that allows me to accept the faith of my grandmothers and all other human beings as well as to further develop my own faith practice in a way that better meets my needs.
As I have continued to seek success in life through education and work, I have always and utilized women mentors and women peer-coaches. No matter where they were and how they got there, they always used faith principles to motivate others and themselves. Let me clarify here that faith does not necessary imply religion, rather faith and religion often work hand in hand to give people a template with which to navigate life. While I have known many women of various religions, I have also benefited from faith perspectives that do not necessarily claim a religious base.
While today’s International Women’s Day celebrates the economic, political and social achievements of women, globally; I would like to promote the underpinning of faith that I find inherent in many women of success. It is this element (faith) that I believe will continue to effectively move women and their families and communities forward and to value women’s successes and contributions of the past, present, and future.
©Linda Tauhid, March 8, 2013
Linda Tauhid’s Journal https://lindatauhid.wordpress.com/
Linda Tauhid is a Houston-based writer, blogger, poet, social commentator and educator.