Number of women as clergy jumps for some denominations

Written By BY FRANCINE KNOWLES Religion Reporter Posted: 08/29/2014, 06:26pm

Some individual church denominations are reporting greater gains in the representation of women clergy and other ministers, but challenges remain.

Women ministers outnumber men in the Unitarian Universalist faith. They account for more than 58 percent of active ministers, up from 41 percent in 1994, according to a spokeswoman. Statistics were not available on the percent who serve in the lead role at their churches.

In the Episcopal Church, 48 percent of newly ordained clergy are women, according to a 2012 report by Church Pension Group. But employment among the newly ordained stands at 38 percent for women, compared with 62 percent for men.

Women also lag among the newly ordained in pay across age demographics in the faith. The biggest disparities were among pastors age 55 and older, with male clergy making 16 percent more than woman; and among 35- to 45-year-olds, with male clergy making nearly 13 percent more.

The Chicago-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which installed its first female presiding bishop last year, reports more than 75 percent of its clergy is male, but the percent of women clergy more than doubled from 10 percent in 1994 to 24 percent last year.

Among United Church of Christ pastors, more than 35 percent are female, according to a 2012 report. That’s up from about 27 percent 10 years earlier. More than 46 percent of its ministers are women.

Women make up more than 30 percent of rabbis in the Reform Judaism faith, according to the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

About 15 percent of Conservative synagogues employ a woman rabbi, according to the Rabbinical Assembly.

— Francine Knowles

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