Monday, 10 January 2011

New year, new women leaders

2011 is off to an interesting start, with news that Dilma Rousseff has been elected President of Brazil.

The 63-year-old is the first woman president of this huge country (200 million people), with its growing economy yet dramatic contrast between rich and poor.

I was particuarly intrigued that a woman could be elected to lead such a relatively macho country (or is that my prejudiced viewpoint?). Or is it true that women really are becoming more readily accepted as leaders?

Dilma 's background is as the former leader of a resistance movement, who then moved into mainstream politics. She held the position of energy minister, and then served as chief of staff of President Lula from 2005-2010. Apparently nine of her 37 ministers will be women, a record for Brazil.
So what of the Church? Unlike progress in politics, theological issues are primary (or should be) in the debate about whether women should be bishops. Who knows what will happen in the Church of England?
The next stage is for discussion and decision at local and diocesan level, and discussions continue as to what provision should be made for those who feel disenfranchised.
I was personally encouraged today to hear of a 15th woman archdeacon being appointed. Christine Froude, whom I've known for some years, and who has done a great job as an incumbent and as dean of women's ministry in Bristol diocese, has been appointed Archdeacon of Malmesbury.
What else will 2011 bring in terms of women's leadership?

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