I am not consoled by the fact that, according to this NYT story, Christian clergywomen are in the same lousy boat as female rabbis. There are the anecdotes:
The Rev. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, pastor of Crossroads United Methodist Church in Phoenix, said that at every church where she has served, people have told her they were leaving because she is a woman.
At a large church where she was an associate pastor, a colleague told her that when she was in the pulpit, he could not focus on what she was saying because she is a woman. A man in the congregation covered his eyes whenever she preached.
And there are the numbers:
In their second decade in ordained ministry… 70 percent of men had moved on to medium-sized and large congregations, Mr. Carroll said, based on a 2001 survey of 870 senior and solo pastors. By comparison, only 37 percent of women led medium and large larger congregations.
In the mainline Protestant denominations, Mr. Carroll found that women made up 20 percent of lead or solo pastors. But of the pastors at the top of the pay scale, largely those who lead big congregations, only 3 percent are women. Of all conservative Protestant congregations, 1 percent are led by women, he said; of African-American churches, just 3 percent are led by women.
â€œItâ€™s a combination of age-old customs and democratic myopia: that in the marketplace of ideas and values, men matter most and that by definition, women have to take a back seat,â€ said Dr. Alton B. Pollard III, director of black church studies and associate professor of religion and culture at the
Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
This is getting old. It really is.
(Thanks, as often, to R. Uri Cohen for the link.)
it’s not even so much that people leave the congregations … for me the worst part is that congregants feel able to behave more aggressively and in a meaner way than they probably would dare to with a male clergyperson.
i am learning the hard way how much emotional strength and self-awareness one needs to survive in congregational life.
it may be getting old, but it is still the way things are, and i am living (as are so many of my friends & colleagues) bang in the middle of it.
the system still has so much power … try to counter it or do things differently and one is not just slapped down – one’s health and livelihood suffer.
Why should the clergy be different than any other profession, my dear. Religion is just like everyone else, only more so.
My Mum can’t stand women preachers or public speakers 🙁