True Power

True Power

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Facts about women in ministry

Here are some facts about women in ministry and some resources for you to learn more on the subject.

Q: Are more women enrolling in seminary?
A: Women make up about a third of all seminary students, according to data from the Association of Theological Schools. That’s a big jump from 30 years ago when women made up less than a fifth of seminary students. Hartford Seminary Sociologist Adair Lummis suggests there are several reasons the increasing numbers of women. Social attitudes have changed and women are increasingly accepted in all the professions. In addition, several mainline denominations changed their rules to allow women to be ordained. Still, seminary remains by and large a male profession. Twice as many men as women completed the Masters in Divinity degree, the most popular of the programs, in 2005, according to ATS figures.
Want to know more? Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling, by Barbara Brown Zikmund, Adair Lummis, and Patricia Mei Yin Chang, (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) or see Also, consult the website for the Association of Theological Schools, Click on the 2005/06 Annual Data Tables.

Q: Are more women serving in churches today?
A: Yes, but just how many is hard to say. Some denominations, such as the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church USA keep accurate tabs on the number of women clergy. Others denominations, such as the Southern Baptist Convention, which officially does not permit women to serve as senior pastors, do not, (even though there are small numbers of women pastors in the SBC). Not surprisingly, the United Methodist Church, the nation’s second-largest Protestant denomination, had the largest number of clergywomen, 9,749, or 22 percent of its ordained clergy in 2006. But sociologist Jackson Carroll said women make up a disproportionately large percentage of associate pastors, and may face unequal access to higher profile positions.
Want to know more? Read Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling, by Barbara Brown Zikmund, Adair Lummis, and Patricia Mei Yin Chang, (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998) or see Also, consult chapter 3 in Jackson Carroll’s God’s Potters: Pastoral Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations, (W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006). Also see What percentage of pastors are female?

Number and Percentage of Clergywomen 1977 & 2000
Faith Group 1977 & 2000

American Baptist Church
1977=157 (3%) 2000=1,032 (13%)

Disciples of Christ
1977=388 (9%) 2000=1,564 (22%)

Episcopal Church
1977=94 (1%) 2000=3,482 (20%)

Evangelical Lutheran Church Am.
1977 ..... 2000=2,358 (13%)

Presbyterian Church USA
1977=350 (3%) 2000=3,715 (18%)

United Methodist Church
1977=319 (2%) 2000=4,370 (17%)

Conserv. Judaism
1977=0 2000=127 (9%)

Reformed Judaism
1977=3 (.2%) 2000=346 (14%)
(From chart in Olson et. al. Women with a Mission. (U of Alabama Press 2005.) p.8

Q: Why are women dropping out of seminary, or ministry?
A: Schools and denominations don’t keep records on dropouts so it’s impossible to say with any accuracy how many women quit school or ministry. But Barbara Finlay, a sociologist at Texas A&M University, suggests some women opt out of ministry during their last year of school, realizing they will face uphill challenges to better-paying positions.
Want to know more? Read Facing the Stained Glass Ceiling: Gender in a Protestant Seminary by Barbara Finlay (University Press of America, 2003, and Pastors in Transition: Why Clergy Leave Local Ministry by Dean Hoge and Jacqueline Wegner (W.B. Eerdmans, 2005). Also see Are more or less women entering seminaries today?

Q: Is there a salary gap between men and women clergy?
A: The salary gap that once existed between men and women clergy is narrowing. Whereas in 1991, women clergy earned on average 91 percent of men’s salaries in the same position, 10 years later that disparity had all but disappeared. Still, women face unequal access to senior pastor positions, which pay more. Sociologist Jackson Carroll found that among mainline clergy in their second decade of ministry, 70 percent of men were serving medium or large churches, compared to 37 percent of women.
Want to know more? Read Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling, by Barbara Brown Zikmund, Adair Lummis, and Patricia Mei Yin Chang Also consult, chapter 3 in Jackson Carroll’s God’s Potters: Pastoral Leadership and the Shaping of Congregations, (W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2006).


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