A comparison of a study by the White House with a study by the Church Pension Fund reveals that the disparity in pay between male and female clergy in the Episcopal Church mirrors the rest of the United States.
Mary Frances Schjonberg writes for the Episcopal News Service:
Data in "Women in America," a statistical portrait released March 1 by the White House, show that women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009.
"Called to Serve," a Church Pension Fund study of clergy women and their families released in late January, found that women earned $45,656 on average compared with an average for male clergy of $60,773, or 75 percent.
There are 5,542 ordained women in the Episcopal Church, including 12 bishops, and 12,464 male clergy.
"Despite the presence of women clergy in the church for over thirty years, there are still significant gaps when comparing compensation and years of service between male and female clergy, pointing to the significant obstacles that women clergy face," Matthew Price, Church Pension Group vice president and director of analytical research, wrote in the report's introduction.
"Women's ministry also takes place in a wider society that influences and constrains what women can do," said Price of the other study's findings. "Family roles that still place on women primary responsibility for the raising of children and the care of elderly parents constrain the opportunities that women have to pursue opportunities in ministry."
The study was based on research conducted during the 2006-2009 triennium and provides a new understanding of the challenges, career patterns, constraints, and overall welfare and wellness of clergy women, the release said.
In the fall of 2008, 4,500 ordained women in the Episcopal Church -- and 1,500 male clergy – were invited to answer questions about their aspirations, needs, and experience of how ministry is lived out through their lives. Researchers had incomplete contact information for about 1,000 additional female clergy, Price told Episcopal News Service, but widely publicized the effort and any clergywoman who contacted researchers and updated her contact information received the survey.
The Pension Fund conducted the survey in collaboration with the Executive Council's Committee on the Status of Women, the Church Pension Fund's Office of Research, the Episcopal Church Center's Office of Women's Ministry, and CREDO Institute Inc.
More background about the survey is included in the report's introduction.