Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




James Walsh


Women, Ministry, Profession, Cultural, Attitudes, Barriers, Clergy, Religion, Roles, Antoinette Brown Blackwell, Annis Ford Eastman, Juanita Breckenridge


The status and role of women in organized leadership positions in the Protestant church has reflected an American cultural basis for sex-typing the professions. Specifically, the ministry as an occupation has traditionally been thought of as a male occupation. Although the obstacles faced by women are usually justified or explained on doctrinal or theological grounds, it is my thesis that they are better accounted for by reference to secular conditions and status structures. This paper is concerned with the Christian ministry as a profession and the ways in which cultural attitudes and social forces have worked together to prevent women from full "professional" participation. Though women have played critical roles in the church, the status of women in the church has been a controversial issue over many centuries. Many people have accepted the barriers to women in the church as natural and just. Others are sharply critical.

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