We will see from Scripture that in one sense men and women are absolutely equal but in another sense the man is given a higher place than the women. Let’s read Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, ‘Let Us make MAN in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’ So, God created MAN in His own image; in the image of God He created him; MALE and FEMALE He created them” (NKJV). The word “man” in this passage refers to both the “male and female” which is evident by the words “male and female He created them. We sometimes use the word “mankind” to refer to the whole “human race” and that’s what we have in these verses. Granted, God created the “male” first and then He formed the “female” from him, but the main idea here is the creation of the “human race.” We see that God gave THEM dominion over the earth and everything in it. Again, this dominion began with Adam (the “male”) but after the woman (the “female”) was formed she shared that dominion with her husband Adam. We see then that the man and the woman were EQUAL in that they were both created in God’s image and likeness, and they were both given dominion over the earth.

Some believe that the woman was INFERIOR to the man because the main reason for her being created was to be a helper for Adam as we see in Genesis 2:18, “And the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a HELPER COMPARABLE to him.” Those who argue for this view say the word “helper” implies inferiority, but this word is even used to describe God in Scripture (see Psalms 33:20; 70:5; 115:9; 121:1-2) and He is certainly not “inferior” to us in any way. Notice, after it also says a “helper COMPARABLE to him.” We could read it as “CORRESPONDING to him,” which means she was “like him.” As we noted earlier, they were both created in “God’s likeness and image” so they were both “equal in nature.” I will add that the thought of “helper” also carries with it the thought of “complementing” him; that is, she would “supply what Adam lacked.” We could say she “COMPLETED him.” We could also say that “Adam COMPLETED her”; they “helped each other” so that what one lacked the other supplied. This thought is brought to fruition when we read in Genesis 2:24, “They shall become ONE flesh.” Thus, we conclude there is no thought whatsoever of the male being superior “personally” to the female.

Now let’s read 1st Corinthians 11:3, “But I want you to know that the HEAD of every man is Christ, THE HEAD OF WOMAN IS MAN, and the HEAD of Christ is God.” Space forbids going into great detail on this subject, but what we learn here is the truth of HEADSHIP, which involves one being in AUTHORITY and the other being in SUBMISSION. Though the man and the woman are “equal PERSONALLY,” they are “NOT equal POSITIONALLY.” From the very beginning God ordained that the man should “take the lead” (in marriage, in the church and in the family) by being a teacher and guide. This means that God ordained the woman to be “in submission” to the man in these various relationships (the marriage, the church and the family). The following scriptures bear this out:

*Ephesians 5:22-23: “Wives, SUBMIT to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the HEAD OF THE WIFE, as also Christ is the HEAD OF THE CHURCH.”

*1st Timothy 2:11-13: “Let a woman learn in silence with all SUBMISSION. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have AUTHORITY OVER THE MAN, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.”

*Ephesians 6:4: “And you, FATHERS, do not provoke your CHILDREN to wrath, but BRING THEM UP in the training and admonition of the Lord.”

Again, the truth of HEADSHIP relates to one’s POSITION over another and does NOT mean they are superior to them PERSONALLY. If one has an issue with this then consider what we read in 1st Corinthians 11:3c, “…the HEAD of Christ is God.” This means that God the Father was the Head and Christ was in submission to Him. This clearly speaks of the POSITION the Son of God willingly took when He became a MAN and a SERVANT in order to redeem lost sinners by laying down His life on the cross (see Philippians 2:5-8 along with John 10:17-18). PERSONALLY, He was (and always will be) “equal with God” (see John1:1; 5:16-18, 22-23; 10:30-34).

Regarding your last question, we have seen that women should NOT be in positions of power in the marriage, in the church, or in the family. Perhaps you were also thinking of positions in government, businesses, or institutions. Scripture does not address these so I will decline from answering this, though some do feel that the “principle of headship” carries over to these positions as well.  (DO)  (503.1)