I had a great conversation about this a few days ago!
And it set me thinking. If we want to see a Church which takes women as leaders seriously, which is really supportive and affirming of women as leaders, how do we change the Church?
Do we keep working away, involved in the structures and trying to influence them? Do we respond to the bad practice, and try to encourage people to change and do things better?
Or would a better solution be to set up a new organisation which aimed to be a model of good practice, a model of men and women working together, with a strong female presence on its leadership team?
It would be great to have such a model to point to, and say 'This is how to do it.' But I'm not so sure it's achievable. And to my mind there are too many splits and groups in the Church already.
I wonder if the best way to change things may be the apparently harder way? Getting stuck into the structures, whether at deanery, diocese or General Synod level, and aiming to influence others, person by person. Joining groups which stand for biblical equality, and working to inform and educate. Some of us may quietly beaver away, graciously pointing out the changes that are needed and suggesting how things could be done better. Others may end up in places of responsibility, and able to be those who help to shape church culture, rather than being squeezed by it.
In the Anglican Church, we've come a long way since 1994. But the challenges are still there - they are different ones from those which women priests faced back then. How do we continue to move forward, and make the Church a place where men and women who are equally gifted are equally treated at every level of church life?
What do you think?