Women’s History Month has been particularly exciting this year for Kuyper graduate Teresa Janzen.
A recently published book that she co-authored was presented to the United Nations on March 14 at the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York City.
Janzen, also a former senior development representative and annual fund manager at Kuyper College, co-wrote the book, called “The Gift of Women,” with Theresa Willen.
“It’s a history of the contributions women of faith have made on the developing world, especially in the area of education in the digital age,” Janzen said.
The CSW deals with issues surrounding gender equality and women’s empowerment, promoting women’s access to their rights in all spheres of life, and participants include representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and other UN entities.
Janzen and Willen got connected to each other and to the CSW when they met at a recent academic conference. Janzen said that Willen was invited to expand some of her research for presentation at the CSW, and Willen in turn asked Janzen to also contribute. At that time, Janzen was already researching the work of female Christian missionaries, so the collaboration was a perfect fit.
Janzen’s own experiences in the mission field sparked her passion for this kind of research.
“I noticed that I was able to have a voice that local women were not always allowed. I became interested in exploring why that was,” she said.
Female foreign missionaries’ differences from local women might be what allows them this unique influence, Janzen theorizes.
“It’s often the first time a female voice has been heard in a male-dominated space. I think that helps create more opportunities for the empowerment of local women,” she said.
Janzen hopes the book will have a positive effect on the way Christian missionaries are viewed by the international community.
“Historically, their influence hasn’t always been positive. We wanted to recognize the positive impact women of faith have had on the developing world, especially by uplifting other women,” she said.
Producing “The Gift of Women” was a whirlwind process.
“The whole book was done in about two weeks,” Janzen said, laughing.
Janzen owns a small publishing company, called Abundance Books, which made the speedy publication possible.
She also is an author, speaker, coach and host of the Radical Abundance podcast.
“I’m passionate about empowering the weary, worried and wounded to experience God’s radical abundance in work, life and relationships because I know what it’s like to struggle to find meaning and purpose,” she said.
She and her husband Dan serve in both East Africa and North America.
“I love to share inspiring stories from our work in South Sudan and the experiences I’ve had serving the church in Global ministry,” she said. “Even better is helping other people find and fulfill their purpose.”