#hearLDSwomen: Young Women Are Told No; Young Men Are Told Yes

My Laurel class president daughter thought it was unfair that the Young Men got a high adventure week long overnight trip white-water rafting. She spent a year planning a kayaking trip for the Laurels only to have it get changed last minute to two hours on a Saturday accompanied by the Young Men.

When she went to ask the Young Women leaders what had happened, she kept getting directed up the chain of command. She finally met with a high councilman who told her she was just spoiled and girls in Africa would never ask for such a thing.
– Shandra Petersen Harris

When I was the Young Women’s president, we were only allowed one fundraiser a year to raise money for camp. The girls organized a baking auction and prepared the goods to be auctioned off. The night of the auction came, and the Young Men set up chairs for the event. We were told at the end of the night that half of what we raised had to go to the Young Men’s budget for their “participation.”
– Sarah A.

When I was a young woman, I asked our bishop why the Young Men could go backpacking out of state. His answer was because they had money for it from scouts. So I asked when we could do a fundraiser so we could go on a high adventure trip, and he told me Young Women weren’t allowed to do one. I was 15 when I learned that boys are literally worth more than girls when it comes to the church.
– MB

My daughter was a Beehive adviser and wanted to take her Beehives sledding in Cedar City, and she was told she could not take Young Women sledding; it was a safety risk. Two weeks later the Young Men went, you guessed it, sledding.
– Sherry Andersen

Pro Tip: Ensure that the Young Men and Young Women have comparable budgets and opportunities. Allow Young Women and their leaders to have autonomy in their organization.


Click here to read all of the stories in our #hearLDSwomen series. Has anything like this happened to you? Please share in the comments or submit your experience(s) to participate in the series.

“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)

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14 Responses

  1. Rosalind says:

    The young women in my ward are told that we can’t go sledding because it’s too dangerous. Meanwhile, the boys are off almost dying on white river rafting trips out of state. Disparity needlessly exists, and it sucks.

    • Darren says:

      I wonder why you even have to ask if they can do it. Is that a thing in your ward?

      • Mary says:

        Aren’t permission slips required to be signed by parents? Isn’t there possible insurance liability? Don’t bishops ask for a general plan of the agenda?

        It seems to me it’s not really possible to get out of asking the bishop.

    • Old Man says:

      Dying on out-of-state whitewater rafting trips seems extravagant. Both genders can die on in-state rafting trips.

      And Darren is right. Adopt a policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and life goes on.

      • CubMistress says:

        No way. I can’t even cancel my cub scout activities due to poor weather or sick leaders without branch president permission–he gets furious with me if I make even the smallest moves without priesthood authorization, first. Yeah I might be Cub Scout master, but priesthood holders are constantly reminding me who is *really* in charge. If I planned an outing of this kind of scope without prior authorization, my temple recommend would be at risk!

  2. Darren says:

    That always drove my wife crazy. When I was put into the bishopric, we had a supportive bishop and there is an equal budget for both groups. Now that I’m the bishop, our ward has complete parity. All are welcome to do any and all activities. Given that paddling is my profession (we do exist), our kids spend a lot of time on paddling activities. The YW seem to really love SUP boards, and are better at it than the boys. It’s one of the few athletic activities where there is complete gender parity. The best sea kayaks I know are women.

    I encourage you to stand firm with your leaders. If you want to use me as an example, I’m happy to talk to anyone on how to make this work successfully. The demise of BSA as an integrated part of the church is a blessing.

  3. TheWanderingLost says:

    Growing up, the scouts had an incredibly successful fundraiser that raised ~$5000 per year. The girls were left out until the best bishop I have ever known came in. He immediately shared the project with the young women and RS, since the RS did the bulk of the work. Solved all fundraising problems in the ward.

    Course, now that there is no fundraising at all, the problems are back again.

  4. el oso says:

    YW & YM have the exact same funding now in our ward. RS has far higher funding than EQ. This has been true as long as the ward has been in existence to the best of my knowledge. Since the fundraising parity went into effect at some point in the past, most of the funding has been fairly balanced. The split with BSA should eliminate the final inequity for children & youth.

    • KLC says:

      Our ward also has equal YM and YW funding and all money from fundraising is shared equally as well. But last year the RS budget in our ward was $900, the EQ and HP budgets were $50 each. Now that there is only the EQ I’m guessing they still get $50.

  5. Starfoxy says:

    Something I see is that these problems become generational. Because I was not taken white water rafting (for example) as a youth, let alone involved in planning such a trip, my ability to advise and guide today’s young women through the process is hampered.
    That said, the single largest barrier to more outdoor adventure trips for my group of YW is the handbook requirement that a ‘sufficient number of priesthood holders’ accompany the group. For my small group, bringing two more adult men requires 50% more adults on the trip and nearly doubles the budget (because those men need separate accommodations, food, transportation and equipment/fees). It’s a nightmare.

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