Danielle StricklandEmpowerment: Women & Men

Better Together

Lesson 1: In this GrowthTrack, Danielle teaches you how to create a culture that empowers women and men.

Materials Needed

Journal Icon
Calendar Icon
Pencil Icon


The first step on your learning journey is to reflect on Danielle Strickland’s session and the learning that you experienced at the Global Leadership Summit. Attending the Summit has often been described like drinking from a fire hose. So, as we focus in on the topic of Empowerment: Women & Men, let’s take this week to review the session.


Danielle Strickland Empowerment: Men and Women Graphic Recording

Danielle Strickland – Empowerment: Men and Women – Graphic Recording


GLS18 Session Notes:

Danielle Strickland – Empowerment: Men and Women


Danielle Strickland teaching at the GLS 2018 about men and women being Better Together

We’re at a strategic intersection where relationships between women and men is eroding. There’s a global movement of women telling the truth and exposing the pain of sexual harassment. And maybe it’s reached a tipping point. And I say, “Thank God.”

I believe the truth will set us free.

The normal knee-jerk reaction is to deny, or to avoid or to blame. We want to find someone to blame as if the problem is outside of us.

But for those of us who want to be transformational leaders, this is an opportunity to create a different world – one where men and women are better together.


Story of Swedish woman who tackled prostitution. She said two things were necessary for mass social change:

1. Being able to imagine a better world.
2. Being able to understand oppression.


Story of Danielle’s son starting kindergarten. He made up a story about being in a go-cart race, that the go-cart turned into a motorcycle and he won a big trophy. He wanted to live a better story.


We all want a better story.

Women and men are better together. In Genesis, God made a man by himself in charge and he says, “This is not good.” So, God created the women “Ezer” (savior, tutor, helper) for man. The world will work better with both women and men together.

Danielle Strickland teaching at the GLS 2018 about men and women being Better Together

1. Believe it’s possible.
  • A McKinsey Report suggests that if women were added to the workforce, it would add $12 trillion to global economic growth.
  • Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus discovered that women’s empowerment was the key to a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
  • Believing it is possible means we have to refuse despair. We need to challenge the status quo.


2. Do not be afraid.
  • 2/3 of women are not optimistic that gender equality can be achieved in the next five years. 30% believe it is impossible altogether. Why? Fear.
  • In Exodus 1, Pharaoh had enslaved the Israelites. The verse says, “Because Pharaoh was afraid, he oppressed them.” If we are fear-based, we will either be oppressed or an oppressor. Fear is the currency of oppression.


  • Difference and Mutuality are essential for better working relationships:
    • Difference. To be human is to be unique. When we over-emphasize one difference above others, it leads to distortion and stereotypes. Seeing difference through the eyes of fear is a threat. But seeing difference through the eyes of faith is an opportunity.
    • Mutuality. Mutuality is the sharing of feeling or action or relationship between two or more parties. We need each other: your success is linked to my success and your failure is linked to my failure.

Danielle Strickland teaching at the GLS 2018 about men and women being Better Together

  • Sex and Power are the enemies of mutuality in women/men relationships.
  •  Sex
    • 35% of women globally have experienced physical or sexual violence.
    • 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
    • 1 in 6 internet searches are for porn.
    • 1 in 5 mobile searches are for porn.
    • 60% of men admit to viewing porn at least once per week.

What happens to the way you view gender if your lens objectifies women? Pornography is a source that needs to be confronted by a generation that is not afraid.

  • Power
    • Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others or the course of events. We all have power and influence. We need to take a sober look at how we use the power we have.

How we use our power is the measure of our leadership.

The Duluth Model of Power and Control

  • Coercion and Threats vs. Negotiation and Fairness
  • Intimidation vs. Non-Threatening Behavior
  • Emotional Abuse vs. Respect
  • Isolation vs. Trust and Support
  • Minimizing, Denying and Blaming vs. Honesty and Accountability
  • Economic Abuse vs. Economic Partnership
  • Make Privilege vs. Shared Responsibility

Great leaders use their power to empower other people.


The story of Mary and Martha is about women’s empowerment. Our example is Jesus who gave power away. He invited women to be a part of the Kingdom of God and to dismantle the old systems of injustice/ prejudice/ sexism.

Danielle Strickland teaching at the GLS 2018 about men and women being Better Together

3. Start now and start with you.

Story of HSBC Bank in Canada. They were losing women in middle management. A survey revealed that the bank’s inflexibility around work schedule did not make it attractive for women to return. So, they found solutions with technology and day care – and actually implemented them. For seven years in a row, they were named to best company to work for.

  • If you find yourself in boardroom of people who look and act exactly like you, it’s time to find some new voices.


4. Never, ever, ever give up.
  • Achieving gender balance is a long-term objective that requires constant progress. Real empowerment is a long walk in the same direction.
  • Story visiting Robin Island Prison. The tour guide, a former prisoner, said, “The hardest thing about my experience was leaving it.” On the island, he learned a better way of life, but leaving it meant going back to real life.

I’m dreaming that leaders in this cultural moment will imagine a better world where it is possible for women and men to be better together.


*Disclaimer: GLS18 Session Notes are only available in the United States*


Danielle Strickland encouraged us to imagine a world where men and women are better together.

1. Thinking back on the talk, what were your top insights. In your journal, write down 3 phases, concepts or insights that hit you the strongest.




2. We experience challenging male/ female dynamics in various contexts. For the purposes of this GrowthTrack, focus in on one area right now.

The context I will be focusing on is: ___________________________________________.

3. What male/ female dynamics are working well in this context right now?

4. What male/ female dynamics are not working well in this context right now?


1. Take the “Empowerment: Women & Men” Assessment:

Take this assessment get a baseline of your female/male empowerment actions right now. You will take this assessment again at the end of this GrowthTrack to track your growth over the next four weeks.

2. Review your responses to the assessment:

  • Note the questions where you rated yourself highly. These are potential strengths to lean into.
  • Note the questions where you rated yourself lower. These are potential areas to improve.
  • As you go through the GrowthTrack sessions, keep in mind how you can either better leverage those strengths or identify ways to improve.

3. Calendar it! Block time in your calendar to go this course – 10 minutes per week over the next 4 weeks.

Take the Assessment


Take this assessment to get a baseline of your skills in difficult conversations at the start of this journey. You will take this assessment again at the end of this GrowthTrack to measure your growth. Use the scale below to score yourself. Use your journal to track your scores.


1 – Always True of Me
2 – Most Times True of Me
3 – Sometimes True of Me
4 – Rarely True of Me
5 – Never True of Me

Assessment Questions:

1. I am acutely aware of male/ female power dynamics in my context.

2. When I see a situation that creates an imbalance of power between women and men in my context, I say something.

3. I have a strong awareness of the challenges that human sexuality brings to relationships between men and women in my context.

4. When I believe a work, ministry or other relationship is becoming sexually charged, I say something.

5. I am self-aware about the power that I possess in my leadership and how that affects others.

6. I have people in my life who are allowed to challenge my behavior.

7. In my leadership interactions, I never belittle people by cutting them off or dismissing their ideas.

8. When I experience misuse of power in my context, I say something.

9. In the past year, I have offered stretch assignments to both women and men.

10. In the past year, I have offered jobs and/or promotions to both women and men.

  1. Christy Laurenzo
    Oct 4 2018 5PM
    I’m so thankful for this opportunity to learn more about male/female dynamics – especially in a church setting. I’m a lead pastor’s wife, a Children’s Ministry Director, and a strong voice for mutuality at our church. But I think my biggest takeaway from Danielle’s talk was that intimidation is an abuse of power. I know I can be intimidating sometimes, and honestly there have been times when it’s seemed like the expedient way to get things done faster. Lord, please forgive me, and help me to change that.
    There is a lot more I could say, but maybe I’ll wait and see if there’s anyone else out there who wants to engage in discussion. I hope so! Christy
  2. Christy Laurenzo
    Oct 4 2018 5PM
    My score on the assessment was 22. What was yours? I clearly have a lot to learn! Looking forward to it!

We welcome and encourage comments on this site. There may be some instances where comments will need to be edited or removed, such as:

  • Comments deemed to be spam or solely promotional in nature
  • Comments not relevant to the topic
  • Comments containing profane, offensive, or abusive language
  • Anonymous comments

If you have any questions on the commenting policy, please let us know at crc@willowcreek.org