Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Blog | 0 comments

Debra Jenson serves as the chair of the Ordain Women communications committee.

A photo of the chairs behind the podium at the Conference Center in SLC, during General Conference. All of the men have been removed, leaving two women alone in the photo.

When we first conceived of the April social media action, I thought it would maybe catch a few people off guard; give them pause; make them think. I wasn’t prepared for the way our action—demonstrating the way women are almost entirely invisible at important moments in our faith—would play out so literally in the talks and prayers given at conference. Of the 36 talks given in the conference, only four were from women.[1] And only one of those talks was given in a general session. One.

I know people like to say that it’s the message that matters and that if you’re focusing on the gender of the speaker you’re trying to be offended and that there are so many Seventies that need a chance to speak and that four of the nine (yes NINE) positions held by women were newly called and on and on and on.

But here’s what I don’t get: if gender is an essential, defining characteristic,[2] if LDS women are Incredible!,[3] and if Mormon women are equal, valued, and needed,[4] then why are we silenced? The words of our leaders, exalting the value of women, ring hollow when their actions are so clear.

It’s been more than 20 years since we had a conference that so clearly demonstrated the inequality of women in our church. We are teaching a whole new generation that women are not leaders and that their words are only important to girls and other women. And we cannot sit idly by for it. So, I am inviting anyone concerned about what happened—or didn’t happen—at this general conference to write about your concern and share your hopes for the future of our community. Go to http://ordainwomen.org/submit/ and submit your profile today. We need your voice because it’s not being heard anywhere else.


[1] http://www.sltrib.com/news/5148693-155/many-may-be-called-but-few

[2] https://www.lds.org/ensign/2008/10/gender-is-an-essential-characteristic-of-eternal-identity-and-purpose?lang=eng

[3] https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/04/lds-women-are-incredible?lang=eng

[4] https://www.lds.org/church/news/elder-ballard-speaks-about-the-role-of-women-at-education-week?lang=eng