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7.22.2012

Home Again

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After a successful completion of a degree at Asbury, Charlotte headed back to the Northwest.  Very few pastors in the Yearly Meeting had graduate degrees. It was respected, except in the places where it was discounted. There was a traditional tension about education among Friends, especially in the West.  Some of it went right back to Fox and his disdain for "professors who were not possessors."  Some of it was a farm attitude about Book Learning vs. practical knowledge. Some of it was probably just ignorance and sour grapes.

But in Greenleaf, Idaho, they were impressed enough to put her up for recording. Greenleaf had two female ministers and had always been big on education. The recording was finalized at Yearly Meeting in 1952.

But she still didn't have a church.

How tough was it to be a female minister in the 1950's?


According to the National council of Churches, 4.1% of clergy were female in 1950. That compared to 6.1% of Medical doctors.  It got worse. By 1960 only  2.3% of clergy were female. while the percentage of female doctors had risen to 7%.

It was discouraging to say the least.

But Friends! you say...

Yes, Quakers had always been better with female ministry.  Female preaching since 1652, and women recorded as soon as recording was done.

Most protestant denominations didn't start making room for female ministry until after 1900. The Episcopalians, great-grandchildren of the church Fox and Fell railed against, didn't manage it until 1976.

In 1917 44% of ministers in Oregon Yearly Meeting were female. Eight were pastors, which was 32% of the pastors.

By 1950 there were 32 female recorded ministers, that was 23% of the total.  There were six women listed as pastors, but all of them were pastoring with their husbands.

By 1960 There were 33  female recorded ministers, but the percentage had dropped to 20%.

In 1968 they were 17%.

In 1979-80 they were 13%

In 1999 they were 12%.

It wasn't going to be easy.

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Comments:
So has it held steady since then or does it continue to decline?
 
Robin, I am not caught up with data. I am presently filling a little gap in the 1970 then I will do the oughts. I think it might be better. I do not know. Has as much to do with who dies as with who is recorded.
 
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