I am constantly amazed how many women are still held back.
I've just come back from running a vocations weekend, and met several obviously gifted women who were beginning to grasp the idea that they could be called to leadership as much as their husbands were.
I really thought the days when women aspired to be married to a vicar (rather than being a vicar themselves) were over, but I fear that in some parts of the Church this idea is still alive and well. Over and over again I hear women say how men are always encouraged to consider ministry, whereas they struggle to hear God's voice amid the conflicting messages around them.
Yet it seems so obvious to me that God does not universally oppose the authority or public ministry of women. In Scripture there are so many examples of women who served as apostles, deacons, prophets, judges, church planters - and just one example would be enough to demonstrate that limiting women's leadership is not a universal biblical principle.
One of the chapters in my book recounts briefly the stories of women leaders in the Bible, while another examines the theology often used to restrict women's ministry - the so-called 'difficult passages', the significance of priority in Genesis and the recent concept of 'role subordination.' As more and more scholars support a more egalitarian interpretation, it grieves me so much that gifted women are unaware of how God can call them (and not just their husbands) to serve him in ordained or authorised leadership in the Church.