Cover Image: Women Rising

Women Rising

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
“Women Rising” was a timely and interesting read. Tschanz calls it a memoir, but that is only a part of her book.  It’s also part research paper. Yes, research paper.

Tschanz is very clear about her intentions for writing this book—that she wants to tell her story, help others avoid her mistakes, and continue bringing God’s kingdom to earth. Each chapter starts with an inspiring quote and then Tschanz discusses her upbringing in a very strict church and her experiences during her own missions.  She is humble in sharing the areas where God called her to grow and she’s honest about mistakes she has made along the way.  Tschanz is vocal throughout the book about the demeaning and “less-than” way women are often viewed in many cultures, religions, and societies, our own very much included.  Her call for women to seek justice and equity is timely and powerful. She references current books and research to support her points. Many different issues are covered including female genitalia mutilation, sex trafficking, abuse, sexual assault and harassment, rape, and murder.  Reader, if you have very little experience with those issues, be ready, because Tschanz doesn’t sugar coat it (nor should it). These are issues that we need to address and talk about. 

I hate being the critical one here, because I was impressed with the stories Tschanz shared and her honesty.  I know she calls this book a memoir, so let’s disregard the research she includes and look at the book from purely a memoir standpoint: she ends the book with getting married. I want to see more of her growth other than her egalitarian marriage and learning to embrace her sexuality.  What about your current work?  Perhaps I missed that?  Tschanz discusses fantastic points about marriage and sex, but ending the book with that? 

I know there is much support for this book and I understand why—there aren’t too many of these books in Christian circles, and Tschanz’s book will be a stepping stone for many men and women to stand up and say no to the patriarchy, the laws, and the social norms that are oppressing women. However, at the end of the book, I found myself thinking, “So what? There are a lot of books that discuss these same issues.” Tschanz spends much of the book sharing her experiences overseas and how she’s working on dismantling her own White supremacy (we all have some, White people!) and white-saviorism.  She is passionate about women’s rights, equity, and justice, but I wanted to know how her transformation from all of her experiences has changed her and what she’s doing about it now. The experiences she shared felt disconnected to the original intent to continue God’s kingdom.  What’s the next step?  What’s our responsibility as Christians, as women, as men to work towards God’s kingdom on Earth?  There’s no quick fix, as Tschanz herself, humbly, discusses; nevertheless, why write this book if you aren’t going to share tangible ways to grow, to fight, to change?  We can all look up the statistics about FGM and how poorly the US ranks in maternal care; however, as a woman who has seen and experienced so much, please share with the reader how God is calling you to stand for justice.  (She does end the book encouraging her readers to step into God’s love and embrace who He made us to be. She also asks some very important questions throughout, yet they needed to be unpacked.) 

Tschanz’s sexual harassment and assault are unfortunately common for many of us. Her experiences on mission trips are unfortunately common. Yes, many women are locked into the confines of enforced gender roles.  So now what?  How do we move past the statistics and the data and bring change? How do we bring God’s kingdom to our communities, our churches, our states, and our world?  How do we find our own voice? What’s next?
Was this review helpful?
Women Rising: Learning to Listen, Reclaiming Our Voice is one young woman’s feminist manifesto. Through vivid descriptions of her heartbreaking missionary work with women in sex trafficking, Meghan Tschanz draws parallels between the abuse and oppression of women in underprivileged countries with the patriarchal belief system of American evangelicalism. 

I would categorize this book as memoir although some research and statistics as well as reflection points supplement the author’s personal story. Meghan invites us on her journey from recent college grad to missionary to newlywed to podcaster and blogger. 

I think this book will be most powerful for young women who are starting to explore their faith outside of the American evangelical church and questioning their beliefs on gender roles. Meghan’s explanation of the problems with complementarianism is compelling, especially juxtaposed with the oppression she sees in Thailand and other areas of the world. 

I appreciated her perspective on white saviorism, white supremacy, and white/male privilege. You can clearly see her heart for combating racism and other forms of discrimination along with sexism. She is attuned to issues of intersectionality and draws the reader into examining their own experience of privilege.  

Through Meghan’s story, she invites us to share her passion for feminism. Meghan shows us how “learning to listen and reclaiming our voice” are the keys to establishing the full equality of women and men in value AND role. We long for and press on toward the day where this equality can be fully realized in our marriages, churches, and the world.
Was this review helpful?