Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Stained Glass Ceiling
That's actually a picture from the worship service before the March for Women's Lives in 2004. That's me on the right at the microphone; Rabbi Sally Priesland, the first woman ordained as a Rabbi in the U.S., is at the microphone on the left.
It seems like a fitting picture to go with a post about a recent New York Times article on how few women serve large congregations in the United States. The article shares that there is still tremendous discrimination against women ministers and rabbis; they are much more likely to be associate clergy or directors of religious education than they are to hold the senior position.
They quote men as saying they are distracted by women in the pulpit, including one man who says he has to shut his eyes when a woman is preaching. It reminded me of that one liner, "There are three sexes. Men, Women, and Clergy." It is a challenge to own one's sexuality and be a woman minister. It's a topic that we address openly in my seminary classes, but one that I'm guessing isn't usually discussed at most seminaries.
The stained glass ceiling is real -- even in those denominations that have been ordaining women for more than thirty years. It's time for real full inclusion.