You are invited…

Girls are strong yet need our human solidarity to seek liberation from deeply entrenched traditions and taboos that persist in all countries and cultures and define and assign the Girl Child to a low, subservient, and even shame-based status. Even where progress has been made toward gender equality, many vexing contradictions remain, particularly at the nexus of faith, gender, and global development.

If you find your curiosity piqued about this ancient yet very contemporary gender-based legacy of oppression, we invite you to learn more about The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom: Putting Faith to Work through Love to Break Ancient Chains. Registration for our 2021–2022 reading journey has closed, but you can sign up for our newsletter, and review the information on this page to learn more.

The reading journey begins in late September and ends in April. Over the course of the journey, participants will come to understand the historical roots of patriarchy, become acquainted with real-life faith-inspired change agents who challenge unfair gender norms around the world, and learn about the deeper, emancipatory current that lies at the heart of our faith traditions. This interactive map offers a taste of the journey, and who you will meet along the way.

As a mother of a daughter, as someone raised in an an all-girl family, as a person who grew up in the church, and as someone engaged in global philanthropy and some form of activism my whole life, I mostly presumed the needle was marching forward for women and girls’ rights. But a few years ago, I hit this point where my soul was crushed to the core seeing gender regressions happening all over the world and in my own faith pond within American evangelicalism. At the same time, I was inspired meeting incredible change agents around the world who were motivated by their faith to do something to bravely challenge and transform patriarchal gender norms within their own cultures and religions. So I got the idea for this reading journey and enlisted my comrade Rev. Domnic Misolo to join me as a coauthor. What motivates me is very simply that I don’t want the needle to go backward for my daughter’s generation and her daughter’s generation, and also for my mother and her generation, who gave me and my sisters a freer world to grow up in. I hope you can join us on this journey!

~ Emily Nielsen Jones, author

FAQs for the Reading Journey

What is the reading journey?
The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom is an e-book written by Emily Nielsen Jones and Domnic Misolo. The e-book unpacks the history of patriarchy, shares how patriarchy is both invisible and everywhere in our lives, introduces present-day faith-inspired change agents, and helps readers better understand how to walk the exodus path toward liberation from this oldest oppression. The reading journey is a facilitated, seven-month-long exploration of The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom undertaken in small group discussions from late September to early April. This interactive map offers a sneak peek into the journey.

Who is the Girl Child?
To learn more about the Girl Child and what she represents, please visit our Who is the Girl Child? page

Is there a fee to participate?
The reading journey is free; there is no fee to participate. Participants must have access to a working internet connection, however, in order to fully access readings and virtual and group discussions.

Who should take the reading journey? Are there age limitations? Can men participate?
The reading journey is for anyone who seeks to better understand how patriarchy functions and how faith can be used to liberate us all from this oldest oppression. While there are no age restrictions on who may participate, some of the content may not be appropriate for or understood by younger audiences. We welcome participants of all genders and backgrounds.

Am I on this journey alone or with others? Will I meet other people on the journey?
You will be invited to participate in a group of people who will meet regularly to discuss the reading journey, facilitated by a Girl Child Long Walk Fellow. Some have preferred to take in the reading journey more independently, while others have leaned heavily on group conversations for exploration.

Is the reading journey for people of any faith?
The primary symbol and spiritual lens through which the reading journey is written is the Exodus story in the Bible, which speaks beyond any particular faith tradition to our shared journey as a human family. For more on this please read Exodus: The Journey of Faith by Richard Rohr.

How long will it take? Is there a set calendar?
The reading journey begins in late September and ends in early April. Participants have access to readings in advance to allow for reading and reflection before group discussions, and additional time is provided to accommodate holidays. The calendar is available below.

How much time per week is needed for the reading journey?
Participants should expect to devote up to two hours per week to read and digest the material. Discussion group conversations can range from one to two hours monthly depending on the number of participants in the group and the depth of exploration.

How will I access the materials? Can I print them out to read?
Materials will be provided through the Journey Hub, an online platform that allows participants to access the readings, discuss topics with one another, ask questions, and review discussion questions, so a reliable internet connection is required. Reading journey chapters may be printed or read on a device. If you have accessibility needs that we can accommodate, please be sure to note them when you apply.

What is the format? Will there be discussion questions?
Participants will complete reading journey chapters on their own, and come together in monthly discussion groups called journey teams. Discussion questions and conversation prompts will be provided as part of additional material, and will be facilitated by Girl Child Long Walk Fellows. Participants will also be able to connect directly with one another via an online Journey Hub for discussion and to access materials.

Who will facilitate the discussion in the journey teams?
Discussion will be facilitated by a pilot cohort of Girl Child Long Walk Fellows, themselves budding faith-inspired change agents, with the support and training of the Girl Child team. Fellows represent diverse geographies and life experiences, but all have intimate experience in understanding the nuances of faith and patriarchy.

Is the journey available in languages other than English?
The reading journey is currently only available in English. Our hope is to offer it in other languages in the future.

Can I invite a friend to join me?
Of course! The reading journey is meant to be a shared experience, and committing to the journey with a friend can make it more rewarding.

Can I get a taste of the reading journey before I sign up?
Of course! This fun, interactive Journey Map is designed to orient potential participants to the content and flow of the reading journey. Click on the map to explore where the journey leads and if you’d like to sign up!

2021-2022 Reading Journey Calendar

Preface: Preparing for the Journey AheadSeptember 2021
Introduction: Our Human WalkaboutOctober 2021
Orientationfirst week of October 2021
Part 1: Her Ground Zero – Daughters of Eve, Our World’s “Least of These” 
Chapter 1: Seeking and Finding the Lost Treasure in the FieldOctober 2021
Chapter 2: How Can This Be? A Lament for the Girl ChildOctober 2021
Chapter 3: The “Imago Dei Effect”: Eden in Our HeartsNovember 2021
Chapter 4: The Journey of Culture – The Spirit of ChangeNovember 2021
Chapter 5: Awakening the “Seed” of Faith to Crumble the Enslaving Mountain from Its RootsDecember 2021
Part 2: Her Egypt – Adam as Master, Eve as Concubine 
Chapter 6: Bitter Herbs of RemembranceDecember 2021
Chapter 7: Carrying the Candle of Faith into the Enduring Darkness of Male HonorJanuary 2022
Chapter 8: The Curse of Eve – Purity Rites that Banish and ExciseJanuary 2022
Part 3: Her Exodus – We, Too, Will Walk About in Freedom 
Chapter 9: Liberty Enlightening the World – The Journey ContinuesFebruary 2022
Chapter 10: Relearning How to Walk as Free People – Recovering the Wisdom of CreationFebruary 2022
Part 4: Glimpsing Eden Restored – On Earth as It Is in Heaven 
Chapter 11: Reweaving the Torn Human Fabric – The Sacred Work of Gender ReconciliationMarch 2022
Chapter 12: Rising Up with Faith in Our Wings – The Obstacle is the Path to EdenMarch 2022
Epilogue: I’m with Her: And Still She Rises with Healing in Her WingsMarch 2022

* Please click here to see the full reading journey calendar that includes Journey Team meeting dates.