Do women have representation in the church? Some people, organizations, and trends would say that no, women in the LDS church do not have adequate representation, because they do not comprise an equal or proportionate amount of the top leadership in the church. If women's voices are not the ones making doctrinal and political decisions, then an organization cannot possibly be aware of all the needs and desires of the women in it, and the women will inevitably be sidelined, suppressed or dismissed.
While this is true in many ways and in many organizations, it does not and cannot apply to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. When it comes to the doctrine and the mission of the LDS church, it will not matter whether it is a man who leads us, because there is one vital difference between the organizations created by man and this one organized by Christ: we do not need to be represented by our leaders.
The LDS church is a top-down organization. Our leaders do not speak for themselves, and they do not speak for or represent men or women. They speak only for God. Their job is to convey His word to His sheep. Men are not in charge in this church. Christ is in charge, and we can trust in Him. To be represented, we need only drop to our knees in prayer and speak directly to God, asking for guidance, relief and inspiration. Each of us has direct access to Him through prayer, as well as through the intercession of our beloved brother and Savior, Jesus Christ. When we carry His name, He is our representative before our Father.
To trust in this organization requires that we have a testimony of the restored gospel. If we do not believe that God himself is leading this church, it leaves us open to questioning the motivations behind our doctrine and our policies. If we do not believe that our leaders are representing Christ and acting as His mouthpiece, then we will begin to question why the church is organized the way it is; why, according to the way that we see equality in today's world, our organization seems to an unconverted heart to be completely off-balance in its structure and organization. We cannot look at the organization of the church through the lens of the world. To do so leaves us with a narrow, shallow understanding of His purpose.
When we speak to our leaders we can be confident that we are on equal footing, that our needs are just as important as another's, and that God is working to serve and succor each one of us through our leaders and fellow-members. We must remember that it is our job, too, to do the same. We are not here to demand structural changes for our own individual needs and wants, even when the lack of our fulfillment may be all that we can see at the moment. This is a worldwide church, with worldwide needs, and God is the one who is guiding us, directing our leaders, and working towards the salvation of all peoples.
Early on in the church, the Lord made His direct involvement in the church very clear when Brigham Young was transformed in visage and countenance before the people. By giving him the mantle of Joseph Smith's appearance and speech in front of the people, God's will and direct involvement was conveyed to all those who could see it.
Many of us have had experiences akin to this--miraculous healings, prayers that were answered in an undeniable manner, occurrences that seemed completely inexplicable, even prophetic dreams and spiritual visitations. All of these things, including the simple and sometimes rare experience of feeling the burning of truth in our hearts, have given us testimony of the truth of the restoration of the gospel.
If you have ever received a witness of the truthfulness of the restored gospel, trust it. Don't forget it. Don't cast it aside before the arguments and persuasions of mankind.
Fear not. Trust not in the arm of flesh. Do not live by the principles of men. Do not judge by the principles of men. We do not have to fear unrighteous dominion from our prophet and apostles. We do not have to fear their judgement. We do not have to use the tactics and strategies of the world to make sure that we get proper representation before The Lord.
We are not here to be represented. We are here to be representatives of Christ. He is our mediator with the Father. He represents us all.
(I highly recommend reading or watching Jeffrey R. Holland's 1999 BYU devotional speech, "Cast Not Away Therefore Your Confidence.")