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 consider joining our #GirlChildLongWalk reading journey cohort of The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom: Putting Faith to Work through Love to Break Ancient Chains. The 2020-2021 cohort has already begun, but you can learn more about the 2021-2022 reading journey by signing up for our mailing list.
The reading journey begins on October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child, and ends on March 8, International Women’s Day. 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.
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, six-month-long exploration of The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom undertaken in small group discussions from October to March.
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.
Who should take the reading journey? Are there age limitations?
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.
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. Some have preferred to take in the reading journey more independently; others have leaned heavily on group conversations for exploration. You are also welcome to start your own discussion group using the reading journey and questions that will be provided.
Is the reading journey for people of any faith?
Yes. The coauthors are Christian and from an evangelical background, so that is a primary lens of the journey. However, there are faith-inspired change agents featured across a range of religions and beliefs, and advisors to the project span a number of religions as well.
How long will it take? Is there a set calendar?
The reading journey begins on October 11, the International Day of the Girl Child, and ends on March 8, International Women’s Day. Chapters are released in a timely way—weekly or biweekly—to allow for reading and reflection before group discussions, and additional time is provided to accommodate holidays. The full 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 an online platform that allows participants to access the readings, chat with one another, ask questions, and review discussion questions. Reading journey chapters may be printed or read on a device.
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 which will meet by video call. Discussion questions and conversation prompts will be provided as part of additional material that will be given to group facilitators.
Who will facilitate the discussion groups?
Discussion groups will be facilitated by volunteer reading journey participants, with the support and training of the Girl Child team. Interested in learning more about becoming a group facilitator? Please contact Sonya Van der Meer. If you have formed your own group, someone should be designated as the facilitator.
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 create my own discussion group?
Yes! The reading journey is ideal for church or Bible study groups, book clubs, or groups of friends.
2020-2021 Reading Journey Calendar
|Introduction: Our Human Walkabout||Sun, Oct. 11, 2020|
|Part 1: Her Ground Zero—Daughters of Eve, Our World’s “Least of These”|
|Chapter 1: Seeking and Finding the Lost Treasure in the Field||Sun, Oct. 18, 2020|
|Chapter 2: How Can This Be?—A Lament for the Girl Child||Sun, Nov. 1, 2020|
|Chapter 3: The “Imago Dei Effect”—Eden in Our Hearts||Sun, Nov. 8, 2020|
|Chapter 4: The Journey of Culture—The Spirit of Change||Sun, Dec. 13, 2020|
|Chapter 5: Awakening the “Seed” of Faith to Crumble the Enslaving Mountain from Its Roots||Sun, Jan. 3, 2021|
|Part 2: Her Egypt – Adam as Master, Eve as Concubine|
|Chapter 6: Bitter Herbs of Remembrance||Sun, Jan. 17, 2021|
|Chapter 7: Carrying the Candle of Faith into the Enduring Darkness of Male Honor||Sun, Jan. 24, 2021|
|Chapter 8: The Curse of Eve—Purity Rites that Banish and Excise||Sun, Jan. 31, 2021|
|Part 3: Her Exodus – We, Too, Will Walk About in Freedom|
|Chapter 9: Liberty Enlightening the World—The Journey Continues||Sun, Feb. 7, 2021|
|Chapter 10: Relearning How to Walk as Free People—Recovering the Wisdom of Creation||Sun, Feb. 14, 2021|
|Part 4: Glimpsing Eden Restored —On Earth as It Is in Heaven|
|Chapter 11: Reweaving the Torn Human Fabric—The Sacred Work of Gender Reconciliation||Sun, Feb. 21, 2021|
|Chapter 12: Rising Up with Faith in Our Wings—The Obstacle is the Path to Eden||Sun, Feb. 28, 2021|
|Epilogue: And Still She Rises—A Reflection on International Women’s Day||Mon, Mar. 8, 2021|