Christians who identify themselves as members of the evangelical branch of the faith have, at best, a spotty record when it comes to how they treat and think about women in the home, in the church and in business.
At the same time, many evangelical expressions of the faith decline to ordain women to be members of the clergy. Again, this is mostly based on a selective reading of the New Testament -- particularly words written by the Apostle Paul -- that suggests women in church should just stay in the background and shut up.
But what about women outside of the home and church? What about their leadership role in evangelical organizations that engage in various kinds of ministry?
An interesting new study finds that although evangelical non-profits are far from being national leaders when it comes to leadership of women, they are making progress and there is hope that they'll do better.
A the press release describing these findings says, the Women in Leadership National Study found that "women hold a mere 21% of board positions, 19% of paid positions, and 16% of CEO positions at organizations included in the study. 24% of the organizations studied have no women on their boards at all, though 16% have boards made up of 40% or more women."
This study is in three parts, and as the release notes, "The first phase of the three-part study examined women’s representation at the highest levels of leadership in more than 1,400 organizations, including members of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, the Accord development network, and the Christian Community Development Association. Phase Two surveyed leaders in a subset of those institutions, to better assess the gender climate and perspectives of men and women in leadership."
It's at least reassuring to note that evangelicals are aware they have a problem in this area and are looking at how big that problem is.
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A DECISION ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?
The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding whether to take one or more cases that could result in a broad ruling on same-sex marriage. Here's a Reuters rundown on where we are. As I've said before, this ship has sailed. I hope the justices don't try to throw out an anchor. Ultimately that would be a foolish thing to do.
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P.S.: Speaking of evangelicals, as I was above, the "Send Conference" is holding an event at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 7, at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, North, to equip "everyday missionaries." For what you need to know to participate, click on this link for a pdf: Download SNAexp_MediaAlert_KansasCity
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ANOTHER P.S.: My latest National Catholic Reporter column now is online here.