Women are subjected to a lot of false ideas - about who they should be, what they should do, and what it means to be a woman.Luckily, our Popes have been busting right through these lies for a loooooong time. Here's just a few:

1) Women are less than men

"Both man and woman are human beings to an equal degree, both are created in God’s image." - Pope John Paul II, 1988 (emphasis added).

2) Women should be valued for their beauty more than their work

"Sadly, very little of women's achievements in history can be registered by the science of history. But even though time may have buried the documentary evidence of those achievements, their beneficent influence can be felt as a force which has shaped the lives of successive generations, right up to our own. To this great, immense feminine "tradition" humanity owes a debt which can never be repaid. Yet how many women have been and continue to be valued more for their physical appearance than for their skill, their professionalism, their intellectual abilities, their deep sensitivity; in a word, the very dignity of their being!" - Pope John Paul II, 1995 (emphasis added).

3) Women aren't powerful

"The hour is coming, in fact has come, when the vocation of women is being acknowledged in its fullness, the hour in which women acquire in the world an influence, an effect and a power never hitherto achieved." - Pope Paul VI, 1965 (emphasis added).

4) Women shouldn't work

"Thank you, women who work! You are present and active in every area of life-social, economic, cultural, artistic and political. In this way you make an indispensable contribution to the growth of a culture which unites reason and feeling, to a model of life ever open to the sense of "mystery", to the establishment of economic and political structures ever more worthy of humanity." - Pope John Paul II, 1995 (emphasis added).

5) Women's value is in having babies

"Although motherhood is a key element of women's identity, this does not mean that women should be considered from the sole perspective of physical procreation. In this area, there can be serious distortions, which extol biological fecundity in purely quantitative terms and are often accompanied by dangerous disrespect for women... motherhood can find forms of full realization also where there is no physical procreation" - Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger), 2004 (emphasis added).

6) Women should be passive

"Women are gaining an increasing awareness of their natural dignity. Far from being content with a purely passive role or allowing themselves to be regarded as a kind of instrument, they are demanding both in domestic and in public life the rights and duties which belong to them as human persons." - Pope John XXIII, 1963 (emphasis added).

7) Women's equality only affects women

"Similarly, inadequate consideration for the condition of women helps to create instability in the fabric of society. I think of the exploitation of women who are treated as objects, and of the many ways that a lack of respect is shown for their dignity; I also think —in a different context—of the mindset persisting in some cultures, where women are still firmly subordinated to the arbitrary decisions of men, with grave consequences for their personal dignity and for the exercise of their fundamental freedoms. There can be no illusion of a secure peace until these forms of discrimination are also overcome, since they injure the personal dignity impressed by the Creator upon every human being." - Pope Benedict XVI, 2007 (emphasis added).

8) Women in the Bible are less important than the Apostles

"As we see, in this most arduous test of faith and fidelity the women proved stronger than the Apostles. In this moment of danger, those who love much succeed in overcoming their fear.” - Pope John Paul II, 1988 (emphasis added).

9) Women's equality doesn't need to be put into law

"The growing presence of women in social, economic and political life at the local, national and international levels is thus a very positive development. Women have a full right to become actively involved in all areas of public life, and this right must be affirmed and guaranteed, also, where necessary, through appropriate legislation” - Pope John Paul II, 1995 (emphasis added).

10) Women shouldn't worry about equal pay

"A more equitable distribution of wealth has always been and will always remain a chief objective of Catholic social doctrine. We can say as much for "equality of salary, for men and women, provided there be equal work and output." The Church has long made that demand her own." - Pope Pius XII, 1947 (emphasis added).

11) Women are fragile and weak

"It is women, in the end, who even in very desperate situations, as attested by history past and present, possess a singular capacity to persevere in adversity, to keep life going even in extreme situations, to hold tenaciously to the future, and finally to remember with tears the value of every human life." - Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger), 2004 (emphasis added).

12) Women have feminine values that men don't need

"It is appropriate however to recall that the feminine values mentioned here are above all human values: the human condition of man and woman created in the image of God is one and indivisible. It is only because women are more immediately attuned to these values that they are the reminder and the privileged sign of such values." - Pope Benedict XVI (as Cardinal Ratzinger), 2004

Samantha Povlock

Founder, CEO, and Editor in Chief

Samantha Povlock is the Founder, CEO, and Editor in Chief of FemCatholic. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with degrees in business and theology, she started her career in Chicago working in consulting and project management. She currently lives in Greater Philadelphia with her husband, Matt, and three kids.

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