A Church of Her Own: What Happens When a Woman Takes the Pulpit

Sarah Sentilles opens A Church of Her Own by proclaiming that 11 o’clock on Sunday morning is “the most sexist hour” in America. Drawing on interviews with an undisclosed number of ordained women, Sentilles exposes the disregard and exclusion that women have suffered at the hands of other Christians and the disappointment and pain that results.

A number of studies document the structural obstacles that women clergy confront. Newly ordained women wait longer than their male counterparts for their first assignment, with African-American women waiting longer than white women. Female clergy are paid less than male clergy and are disproportionately assigned to serve as associate pastors or to lead small, struggling congregations. Even after some 40 years of women’s ordination, the stained-glass ceiling remains.


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