by Beth Impson
Called to Womanhood by Beth Impson recognizes the complex issues facing women in the 21st century. By presenting a carefully documented, thoughtful history of the first and second women's movements she exposes the reader to a fresh perspective of the ideal of womanhood given in Scripture. The concluding chapters picture the vocation of womanhood in the home, the workplace and the church.
Step back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Impson reminds the reader that a woman could not defend herself in court. Once married she could not legally own property. If her husband divorced her, he automatically had the right to keep the children. The concerns of the early American women's movement sought to right these wrongs through enabling equality in political, legal, educational, and occupational arenas.
With ability to see strengths and weaknesses in the writings of 20th century feminists, Impson analyzes The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan. Impson presents the progression of ideas from the case studies of women lacking "dignity" by behaving as a "leech on her husband and society." She carefully discusses the role of NOW, the National Organization for Women, in its affirmative action to protest violence against women and to affirm abortion rights. A careful study of distortion in statistical data to magnify feminine issues is clearly presented in chapter 3.
With insight, the word "calling" or "vocation" is clarified by citing Martin Luther. "In anything that involves action, anything that concerns the world or my relationship with my neighbor, there is nothing that falls in a private sphere by lying outside of vocation." In other words, all spheres of life are vocational, whether in the home, the church, or the work place.
Finally, Impson probes basic differences between men and women in approaches to issues and relationships in the work environment. She considers areas in which the contemporary church often has succumbed to the feminist approach. Family issues are not trivialized. She keeps the discussion biblical with a perceptive, winsome discussion of complex issues.