Women leaders in religious life are emerging in all faiths and denominations according a new book discussed in The Huffington Post. Maureen Fiedler, host of Interfaith Voices and author of Breaking Through the Stained Glass Ceiling writes:
As we scan the political, economic, judicial and academic landscape these days, women are ascending to leadership positions in unprecedented numbers. Think of it: the first woman Speaker of the House, three women serving as Secretary of State and the first credible woman candidate for President (Hillary Clinton). Even right-wing Republican women are running for the Senate -- without any discernable calls for them to go home, cook dinner and take care of the kids.
The trend is also true for women in the world of religion.
There are landmark achievements like the election of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, and the election of Dr. Ingrid Mattson as the first woman president of the Islamic Society of North America. But the gradual rise of women leaders in the world of religion over the last forty to fifty years has been largely "under the radar."
...women are not only finding their theological voice, they are developing new attitudes, believing that they can preach, they can lead, and they can do it as well as men. They look to the women who are already bishops and renowned preachers like Bishop Vashti McKenzie of the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Rev. Sharon Watkins, president of the Christian Church/Disciples, who preached at the official Inaugural Prayer Service of President Barack Obama. And they ask themselves, why not me? Role models are producing a multiplier effect.
Finally, we live in an age of mass, democratized communication. The news that women are leaders, and the new theologies that underlie this, are everywhere. Feminist theology is not only in books, but at conferences, in the media, and on the Internet.
This egalitarian movement has become so pervasive that religions that continue to exclude women from official roles face a new cultural reality that accepts, and believes in, gender equality -- in the West and increasingly in other parts of the globe as well. Such faith traditions might well engage in an "examination of conscience" on this issue if they want to thrive in the 21st century.
Of course there is still the reality that women clergy are paid far less than men in equal positions. Or for fun there is GABBA