In her book, Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women, author Sarah Bessey writes about the stereotypes that the word feminism carries for some within the church, particularly within evangelical traditions.
"In some circles, using the word feminist is the equivalent of an f-bomb dropped in church -- outrageous, offensive," she writes.
Although it's been mistakenly labeled as a movement that derides motherhood, marriage, and homemaking, for Bessey, feminism is about returning to the roots of her faith -- to Jesus' ministry.
Women played an important role in the earliest days of Christianity. The Jesus of the Bible spoke directly to women and refused to treat them differently from men. The gospels portray them as disciples during Jesus' ministry and the first witnesses of the resurrection. They're mentioned in Paul's letters as the leaders of house churches and missionaries in their own right.
Over the centuries, this fluidity in gender roles slowly faded away. Branches of Christianity that allowed women to act as leaders were declared heretical. According to New Testament scholar Karen King, earlier texts that showed evidence of women in leadership were eventually erased or even rewritten.
But that didn't stop women from making their presence known within the church, and not just as saints. Christian women were preachers, abolitionists and suffragists. They wrote music and founded churches. Although they didn't always have the support of mainstream churches, they were willing to disturb the status quo to stand up for what they believed was right.
As we wrap up Women's History Month, HuffPost Religion asked a diverse array of Christian women to share what the word "feminism" means to them and what it could mean for the church. Some women said that they believed that Christian feminism is about acknowledging women's equality before God, while other women chose not to identify with the term, and pushed back with the idea that the feminist movement doesn't take the experiences of women of color into account. Scroll down for a few women's responses and add your own in the comments below.