Women in ministry : 1853-1984

by Leah Matthews

Institution: Oberlin College Masters Theses
Department: Sociology
Degree: MA
Year: 1985
Keywords: Religion; Religious Education; Religious History; Womens Studies; Women; ministry; profession; cultural; attitudes; barriers; clergy; religion; roles; Antoinette Brown Blackwell; Annis Ford Eastman; Juanita Breckenridge
Record ID: 1593787
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=obgrad1320420632


The status and role of women in organized leadershippositions in the Protestant church has reflected an Americancultural basis for sex-typing the professions. Specifically,the ministry as an occupation has traditionally been thoughtof as a male occupation. Although the obstacles faced bywomen are usually justified or explained on doctrinal ortheological grounds, it is my thesis that they are betteraccounted for by reference to secular conditions and statusstructures. This paper is concerned with the Christianministry as a profession and the ways in which culturalattitudes and social forces have worked together to preventwomen from full "professional" participation. Though womenhave played critical roles in the church, the status ofwomen in the church has been a controversial issue over manycenturies. Many people have accepted the barriers to womenin the church as natural and just. Others are sharplycritical.