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Transforming gender roles

A Christian Science perspective.

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Who's better at enforcing law and order? Men or women?

This question is being asked by Britain's largest police force, as the Monitor reported in "Do women make better riot police?" (Aug. 27).

Does it have to be one or the other? Couldn't both men and women contribute qualities to law enforcement which enhance the safety of the community – especially in times of high tension, such as marches and protests?

"Both sexes should be loving, pure, tender, and strong," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 57). She lived during an era in which society was reevaluating gender roles and women's rights. Women's suffrage was still decades away, but she was pressing for more than gender parity. She was advocating spiritual equality, a standard lifted up in the first chapter of the Bible.

"So God created man in his own image … male and female created he them" (Gen. 1:27). Both male and female reflect the nature of God – the nature of divine Love and eternal Truth. God's sublime unity does not belong to one gender or the other. Rather, "union of the masculine and feminine qualities constitutes completeness" (Science and Health, p. 57).

To reach that natural level of spiritual unity, though, requires something more than just adjusting how many women are allocated to crowd control or how many sensitivity training sessions are mandated. It requires a willingness to change one's outlook from inherent conflict between groups to potential resolution for all groups.

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