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Ten impressive women and one imposter

The Biden administration gives award for courageous women ... to a man


First lady Jill Biden speaks during the 17th annual International Women of Courage Award event at the White House in Washington, D.C., on March 8. Associated Press/Photo by Manuel Balce Ceneta

Ten impressive women and one imposter
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Meaza Mohammed works on behalf of women in Ethiopia who have experienced sexual assault and gender-based violence. She’s been arrested multiple times and yet continues her fight for equality. 

Hadeel Abdel Aziz of Jordan founded the Justice Center for Legal Aid (JCLA) and works to defend her country’s most marginalized people, including juveniles, refugees, migrants, and survivors of sexual assault. 

Dr. Zakira Hekmat has ensured that many Afghan women, girls, and minorities receive access to protection and the help they need through the Afghan Refugee Solidarity Association. 

These are just three of the ten women who received the International Women of Courage Award, presented by the Biden Administration on March 8. 

The White House also presented the award for being a woman of courage to a man, Alba Rueda, a biological male from Argentina. Rueda, a transgender activist, is the first Argentine Undersecretary for Diversity Policies in the country’s Ministry of Women, Gender, and Diversity. He says he hopes “to establish an LGBTQI+ foreign policy agenda” in the future. 

While women from countries like Afghanistan, Khazakstan, and the Central African Republic are risking their lives to bring justice, protection, and human rights to women, Rueda merely pretends to be a woman. He actually contributed to inequality by participating in the awards ceremony. 

Women face extreme persecution, intense discrimination and abuse in many countries worldwide. They have long fought to be seen and treated as equals, especially in places where opportunities to flourish are severely limited. The ten biological women given this award are selfless and courageous, often standing up to authoritarian governments and fighting for those without a voice. 

Rueda choosing to accept an award for courageous women—those working to bring freedom to other women living in true oppression—is an act of shame. 

Being a woman is not a choice we can make. For some, it is a burden we carry. 

Those who identify as transgender women are also beloved creations of a good God. But they are not female and they do not know what it’s like to be women.

Furthermore, Rueda speaks for the transgender community, not for women. Nor is he helping them. Aside from being male, Rueda is the only award winner not actually working on behalf of women. His work is centered exclusively on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In a world where Afghan girls are married off at 10 and women in Saudi Arabia can’t appear in public without a male chaperone, the fight for women’s rights is far from over. Transgender “inclusion” policies like those Rueda represents essentially move us backwards, denying women rights to privacy and equal opportunity. 

Women have been oppressed in some countries since the dawn of time because they are women. To mute that reality and assert that one can just “become” a woman on his own free will is offensive and untrue. 

As author J.K. Rowling said, “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.” This is the “lived reality” of many of the women the rest of these nominees have dedicated their lives to. 

On International Women’s Day in Iran, a group of girls were pursued by the police for the “crime” of dancing. Somalian women have one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, dying at a rate of 829 mothers per 100,000 births. In Congo, over half of women experience domestic violence in their lifetimes. In Afghanistan, more than 80 percent of the female population is illiterate. 

For the Biden Administration to choose a transgender woman as one of the women of the year is a mockery to the other recipients. It was clearly an agenda-based move that devalued the incredible work of the others. 

As Christians, we should all want full equality for women around the globe. God created us “male” and “female,” equal in value and, often, different in roles. Sin distorted God’s vision for women in many ways, and it is good to work for the rights of this beloved demographic of daughters. 

Those who identify as transgender women are also beloved creations of a good God. But they are not female and they do not know what it’s like to be women. And they certainly aren’t qualified to push deserving biological women out of the way, as has increasingly been the case in sports, government, and now humanitarianism. 

The other winners will not waste time being bothered by this. Their work is far too important to let a nonsensical, American cultural agenda upset them. They will just keep working for women’s rights and protection. And Rueda will take home the award knowing, in his heart, that he didn’t really deserve it.  We know it, too.


Ericka Andersen

Ericka Andersen is a freelance writer and mother of two living in Indianapolis. She is the author of Leaving Cloud 9 and Reason to Return: Why Women Need the Church & the Church Needs Women. Ericka hosts the Worth Your Time podcast. She has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Christianity Today, USA Today, and more.


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