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Study: The Number of Female Clergy Members Has Exploded Over the Past 20 Years

Study: The Number of Female Clergy Members Has Exploded Over the Past 20 Years

A report from the Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas has released some fresh statistics on the demographics of the clergy in the United States. At the turn of the millennium, the number of clergywomen hovered around 2 percent. Today, it’s over 20 percent.

In most mainline denominations, the number of women in the clergy has doubled or tripled since 1994. In the American Baptist Churches USA, Disciples of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ and United Methodist denominations, women number 32 percent of the clergy.

In the United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalist, the percentage of female clergy members is over 50 percent. The report refers to this as “numerical equality.” In 2018, women are pastoring in every mainline denomination except the Southern Baptist Convention and the Roman Catholic Church.

The study doesn’t cover independent or nondenominational churches.

One area that hasn’t seen progress over the same period is women in divinity schools or Masters of Divinity programs at Association of Theological Schools institutions. The number was about 33 percent in 1998 (up from 10 percent in 1973) and has stagnated since. In mainline programs apart from ATS, women number about half the study body. (h/t Christian Post)

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