Disclaimer: This post will be dealing with religion. As an atheist, I’ve done my best to keep it as unbiased as possible but if you have any complaints then feel free to call me out in the comments.
This week saw the Church of England make the absolutely ground-breaking decision to allow women to be ordained as bishops. This was easily some of the best news I’ve heard this week (Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe’s coming out was a close second) and is truly a momentous occasion for women’s equality.
The Church of England, the centre of the Christian denomination known as Anglicanism, is easily one of the more progressive churches when it comes to the role of women. As early as 1861, women were allowed to be appointed as “deaconesses” (although they weren’t considered official clergy until 1986) and were allowed to become priests in 1993. Given this amazing history, their decision on Monday shouldn’t come as a big surprise.
Unfortunately, this kind of progressive thinking is sadly lacking in a lot of the Christian community, especially the more conservative denominations such as Mormonism and Catholicism. Pope Francis, often called the “Coolest Pope of All Time”, has gone on record as being firmly against the ordination of women, saying that “the door is firmly shut”. The Church of the Latter-Day Saints takes a similar path by sticking to its strictly conservative policies.
The big three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – have traditionally been very patriarchal organisations. For a long time, women have been sidelined and ignored by these organisations and prevented from holding any authority. Meanwhile, men have been granted an disproportionate level of privilege that set them leagues ahead of women.
Of course, this is starting to change. The Church of England’s vote is the most blatant example of this, but there are others. Contrary to popular stereotypes, there is a strong feminist movement within Islamic society that is constantly fighting against traditional patriarchy. Likewise, the Catholic Church is coming under increasing fire to offer serious reform on its outdated policies.
The Church of England decision is a much-needed sign of reform in an otherwise stagnant organisation. While change will probably be slower for some, at least we know that it is coming. See you all next week.