The role of women in society


There are many examples of differences in perceived roles between men and women that have led to women being discriminated against:

Sexism and the Law

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975

Illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants on the basis of gender. Men and women should have equal opportunities for training and promotion.


Despite the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, all is not fair…..

Some questions to think about………

Sexism and the church

The Bible reflects the social realities of Old Testament times and ancient Jewish society.

The Church seems to have supported sexism:

"The language of the church is sexist too. Why is God always Male? Surely God, the creator of everything, is both male and female.”

Rev. Nan Peete

Reasons why the church should not be sexist

Jesus’ treatment of women was revolutionary - he did not share the common view of women. Jesus:

The Bible and Sexism

  1. In the Bible, God frees the oppressed and helps those struggling for liberation/freedom.
  2. God created all people equal. God is even referred to in female terms at least three times.
  3. There are women who had important roles in encouraging people to follow God: Queen Esther saved the Jews from death; Ruth set an example of love and loyalty; Deborah was a prophet, and her wisdom was much admired.

St. Paul

St. Paul seems to be contradictory. Above he says that women should be silent, etc., but he also had some radical messages that were revolutionary in the first century!

Husbands must love their wives like Christ loves the church and, love them as they love their own bodies:

“He who loves his wife loves himself”

Ephesians 5:28-29

“ There is neither male nor female for your one in Christ Jesus”


Churches in favour of women priests

Arguments for the ordination of women

Churches against women priests

The Roman Catholic Church and The Orthodox Church will not allow women priests.

Arguments against the ordination of women

Christians' attitudes to the role of women

Christians disagree about the role of women.

Some believe men and women should be treated the same in every way, e.g. be leaders, preachers and priests, too. Christians should recognise that everyone is made in the image of God. At Pentecost the Holy spirit was given to men and women equally. Women should have important roles in the Church, not just arranging the flowers, organising the crèche or making tea! Christianity has been responsible for women being treated as inferior. The Bible, and the way it has been interpreted, has encouraged injustice. If a woman feels God is calling her to be a priest, who can argue?

Others believe that men and women are equally valuable to God, but have different roles and important differences, physical, psychological and emotional. They have different gifts which should be put to different uses. It is no good pretending that men and women are the same – they are not. Jesus did not choose men to be his Apostles by accident. Some roles in the church are more suitable for men. Who says raising a family is not important? It is the most important job in the world. We are equal, but different. Women should stop trying to be men.