Presbyterians Today

SEP-OCT 2016

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P r e s by te r i a n s To d ay | SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2016 7 ยป Other findings: pcusa.org/research Deborah Coe is the coordinator of research services for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Deborah Coe | GO FIGURE M ost Presbyterians believe that discrimination is still a problem for women in the United States, despite antidiscrimi- nation laws and policies. But is this still a problem in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), a denomination that has been ordaining women for decades? Yes, say a majority of teaching elders. Most female teaching elders say they have personally experi- enced discrimination and/or preju- dice in their church roles because of gender. About one-third have experienced sexual harassment. While most Presbyterians will say that women and men should have equal opportunities for leadership in the church, some will add, "But not in my church. I wouldn't want a female head of staff in my church." This results in a perceived differ- ences when it comes to employment as more than half of the teaching elders surveyed say they think that women miss out on good jobs or don't have the same opportunity for achievement in the PC(USA). What does this mean for the church? Although some may see this as a personal preference, it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on sex, race, color, religion (unless it's an occupational qualifica- tion), or national origin, when hiring or promoting individuals. PC(USA) congregations or other entities that intentionally eliminate female candidates on the basis of gender are breaking federal Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Additionally, our denominational policies prohibit discrimination on the basis of age, marital status, dis- ability, sexual orientation, or creed. Do we really want gender equity? Sexism in the PC(USA) C 85 % 92 % MEMBERS TEACHING ELDERS Think discrimination against women is still a problem in the US 55 % 84 % MEMBERS TEACHING ELDERS Think discrimination against women is still a problem within the PC(USA) 23 % 53 % MEMBERS TEACHING ELDERS Think women often miss out on good jobs in the PC(USA) due to gender discrimination 40 % 71 % MEMBERS TEACHING ELDERS Think women and men do not have equal opportunity for achievement in the PC(USA) 71 % 87 % MEMBERS TEACHING ELDERS Think men have a better chance of being a head pastor in the PC(USA) 82 % 79 % of members say they have not experienced discrimination, harassment, or prejudicial statements in the PC(USA) because of their gender, but of teaching elders have had one or more of these negative experiences. Source: 2015 Presbyterian Gender and Leadership Panel, Research Services, Presbyterian Mission Agency, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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