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Topic: Women in Leadership

As preachers, leaders, teachers, missionaries, organizers, women have shaped the history of the Methodist Church. In their work with the poor, vulnerable and disenfranchised, church women have initiated important social and political reform.

In the Methodist tradition, women were ordained as ministers as early as the late 19th century, and in 1956 the Methodist Church, a  predecessor body of The United Methodist Church, granted women full clergy rights. Women now make up approximately 25% of clergy in The United Methodist Church.

We invite you to explore the inspiring stories of women who have made important contributions to the life of the church both past and present as well as resources to help nurture your own participation and witness as a church leader.

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Women in the Southeastern Jurisdiction pray for Bishops-elect Sue Haupert-Johnson (in green-and-blue) and Sharma Lewis (in yellow-and-white) a day before their consecration. United Methodists already have elected a record number of women bishops this year. Photo by Jasmine Haynes, Mississippi Conference

New women bishops make history

U.S. delegates have elected more women bishops than in any previous class of United Methodist episcopal leaders. Four are African American. Read More

Methodist reformer Frances Willard is seen in portrait. Courtesy of United Methodist General Commission on Archives and History.

Methodist History: Early Voice for Women’s Rights

Learn more about the 19th century reformer who fought for voting rights and full representation in the Methodist Church. View