International Day of Women was just a month ago. The theme for 2019 was #BalanceforBetter; A balanced world is a better world. In the church work needs to happen for a gender balanced world.
The PCUSA Advocacy Committee on Women’s Concerns asked that Presbyteries share the following information from a PCUSA Research Services’ Presbyterian Panel on Gender and Leadership in the PCUSA. The overall take away from the study is that a lot more work needs to happen for gender balanced world in the church.
The goals of the broader study were to:
- Learn more about how women participate in leadership in the PCUSA
- Gain a keener grasp of what factors support or constrain women’s ministry
- Gain a deeper insight into the varying experiences of men and women in ministry, including similarities and differences in compensation, career trajectories, and decisions to leave ministry.
Gender and Leadership in the PC (USA): Summary of Findings from the Presbyterian Panel.
There are two main findings from this research. First, gender discrimination is still pervasive within the PCUSA and second, almost half of the members are not particularly aware of it.
Eight out ten female teaching elders have experienced discrimination, harassment, and/or prejudicial comments due to their gender, and four out of ten feel that they have experienced gender bias in hiring, promotion, or selection for an official position with the PCUSA.
However, almost half of members disagree with the statement that “gender inequality is still a problem in the PCUSA.” This is likely because, among members, the problem is less pervasive: only 30% of women and 13% of men report experiencing gender discrimination, harassment, or prejudice.
Gender inequality does still exist among members and can be seen in the fact that female members are less likely than male members to hold official leadership positions. Gender parity in leadership is only evident once unofficial leadership positions held in a volunteer capacity are entered into the equation. And then once that leadership position is attained, women tend to struggle more than men with various issues related to being a leadership.