The Great Debate UK
- Reverend Dr. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes is Chaplain and Solway Fellow of University College, Durham. The opinions expressed are her own. -
A controversial decision by a committee drawing up legislation to allow women bishops has been met with criticism from women who are seeking equal representation at the highest levels in the Church of England.
Women have been ordained as priests in the Church of England since 1994, but cannot currently become bishops.
Since 2006, the Church of England has been preparing draft legislation to remove the legal obstacles to women bishops. In 2008, the General Synod voted to reject a range of options which set up separate structures within the church for those who could not accept women’s ordination, and instead asked the Revision Committee to draw up simple legislation without discrimination, alongside a separate code of practice to “protect” those who objected to women’s ministry.
- Reverend Dr. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes is Chaplain and Solway Fellow of University College, Durham. As a historian, she has published work on late medieval monastic history and the medieval economic history of the North East of England, notably “Monks and Markets” (Oxford University Press, 2005). Her current research interests are the history of the doctrine of the Trinity, and women’s issues in the contemporary church. She is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England, and a committee member for the group Women and the Church.
International Women’s Day on March 8, is an important opportunity for us to reflect on the fact that women are still taken less seriously than men all around the world. Even in supposedly equal cultures such as my own in the UK women continue, for example, to be paid less than men for the same work, and to suffer pregnancy-related discrimination in employment. Women are disproportionately under-represented in government and on the boards of large corporations. Women’s sport is generally less well funded and less popular than men’s, whilst women’s contribution to art and literature has a tendency to be marginalised – as “chick lit,” for example.