Few female priests get salaried posts in Church of England: More women ordained than men

December 11, 2007

The Church of England says that in 2006 for the first time the number of newly ordained women exceeded that of men, but it conceded that most women did not get positions as full-time clergy.

According to official church statistics published November 12, only 95 of the 244 women ordained last year obtained salaried positions. Most of the rest ended up in an increasing number of voluntary posts, often in parishes where the church could not afford to pay.

Of the 234 men who joined the clergy last year, 128 landed paying jobs in the ministry, according to the figures. At the end of 2006, a total of 20,354 clergy were ordained to full-time paid ministry.

Women have been allowed into the Church of England’s priesthood since 1994. But the BBC noted that only a relatively small number of women have been promoted to senior positions, such as cathedral deans and archdeacons.

In a study published in 2006, Britain’s University of Manchester said such a minor role for women priests clearly demonstrates that the church is “far from being an equal opportunity employer.” –Religion News Service