It was a long time ago, granted, but this story merits telling. One day I was in the closet of a church office quietly working. This church had only male pastors, and four of the five of them were in the outer room. They did not know I was in the closet.
The men started joking about women in the church. Actually, everything they said was basically true, but it was un-nuanced and unloving. They began to joke about problem women and then women in general - I sat still like a rabbit with my heart beating. The conversation wasn't really long but got quite sad.
I just crouched there among the litter and pencils. I didn't make myself known. I was not able to speak back then. I regret that. These were "my" pastors. There are a lot of comments I can make about this... But let me just say, "I am out of the closet!"
For women to learn to speak up, to trust their voice and believe their thoughts have merit is sometimes a huge step. If we have been 'shushed' and mocked and made to listen to predominantly male voices our own voice becomes quite small and timid. Learning to speak up with gentleness and firmness is the task.
One of my life tasks is to listen to women and the marginalized and draw out the hidden unspoken wisdom and even ordinary thinking. The closet is for shoes, not for people. Just saying.