The Salvation Army has a longstanding reputation for providing equal opportunities for service and leadership for both men and women, but the reality may not match our reputation. Since commencing my role as territorial president of women’s ministries last October, I have watched and listened for the faces and voices of women at tables of leadership. What I have observed has encouraged me; but clearly, we can do better. It is time to work together to identify and address systemic issues, so that every individual can develop to their fullest potential and serve to their greatest impact, regardless of gender.
The appointment of a territorial advocate and the establishment of a gender equity committee will work to ensure that biblical teaching about women in leadership is implemented in The Salvation Army. Captain Kristen Jackson-Dockeray will take up this position effective September 1, 2020.
In recent years, the question of “default” appointments for married women when their husbands are appointed as divisional commanders has been acknowledged by International Headquarters (IHQ). Moving forward, IHQ will consider the skills and gifts of the officer and the needs of the division in the appointment process for married couples.
The appointment of a person who has a passion and gifting for women’s ministries, regardless of the appointment of their spouse, will only strengthen our ministry to women. It remains a critically effective ministry and is in no way diminished by focusing upon gender equity for all.
The advocate for gender equity will report directly to me, ensuring that this emphasis is given the appropriate priority attention. A significant part of the advocate for gender equity’s role is to recommend the implementation of strategies to deal with identified systemic issues. Gender equity is everyone’s responsibility.
For all that God has in mind to do in and through The Salvation Army in Canada and Bermuda, we want to ensure that all people are given opportunity for development, service and leadership.
Commissioner Tracey Tidd is the territorial president of women's ministries.