To the question Should women give sermons? , I gave the following answer:
I believe this is a reasonable answer, it answers the question with a Biblically supported answer that is sincere (I am sure that this is what the intent of Ecclesiastes is), and that is a reasonable Feminist Christian perspective.
Are answers from a Feminist Christian perspective disallowed?
The idea that women should not speak is a particularly offensive bit of the New Testament, which, unlike the old-testament, is a mostly male affair, with all strong roles played by males. This is a power-structure, because the Church has spiritual authority, and restricting power of spiritual matters to males leads to certain women's issues to be neglected--- issues of divorce, sexual and domestic violence, family planning, and early child rearing.
To have a fair power-balance, it is important for all positions of power in a Church to be well represented by women as well as men, just as people of all backgrounds must have a voice. There is no other alternative.
This was not at the forefront of people's minds back when the new testament was written. The issues back then were the more pressing ones of public torture executions, as well as a centralized imperial authority repressing regional and individual freedom.
Since these issues are not as pressing today, and other issues are, your conscience is a better guide than the Bible regarding these matters. So you should ignore the Bible where it conflicts with your conscience, and follow your conscience, since it will be your only reliable guide. If it conflicts with the authority structure in your society, you just have to challenge the authority structure in your society, although you must do so only up to the limit that is possible without bringing undo harm to your relationships and yourself. I wish you good luck, and I hope the elders will come to their senses.
From my own experience, ignoring young people is cross-culturally universal. I don't recall my own opinion ever having been at all taken seriously until my exterior appearence became "adult male". This annoys me to no end, I much prefer to be treated like an insolent child, since an insolent child is a better person than an authoritative adult male.
I can find Biblical support for this position, in Ecclesiastes 4:13
Better is a child, poor and wise, than a king, old and foolish, who would no longer know to heed advice. Because the king exited from a prison, because even in his own reign, he was born to poverty. I saw all life that transpires under the sun, along with the child, the second who stands under him. Even with no end to people, and to all that is placed before them, even the last ones will not rejoice to him: because this too is mirage and herding the wind.
If a woman wants to be taken seriously in any society, all I can say is good luck. It's difficult. You have to speak loudly, and speak authoritatively, and even then people will laugh at you, so you have to have strength of your convictions.
This is partly biological, authority and sexuality are unfortunately linked. In order to decouple them, in the U.S. people try to make a strict separation of intimate sexual relations and power-structures in society, and this is achieved using sexual harrassment laws and social mores against cetain sexual relationships, such as teacher/student. This makes the U.S. somewhat better in terms of gender relations than many places.