The Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders (AACLL) met from February 25 to the 28, 2018, on St. Simon’s Island, Georgia to worship, learn, and share. During that time, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women had the opportunity to ask lay leaders from all over the United States how women were faring in their specific annual conference. While some of the results were expected, others were surprising.
By Rev. Leigh Goodrich and Alexa Eisenbarth
This is part two of our General Agency Desk Audit. The first portion can be found
In the spring of 2017, a General Agency Desk Audit was requested. General Agency Desk Audits request General
Agencies to report the gender and racial/ethnic makeup of their employees and board members. They also
report the leadership roles among employees and board members. In this second part of our review, we will
be looking at the employment trends in the general agencies, as well as the gender and racial/ethnic composition
of board membership and leadership.
Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary
Becky Posey Williams, Senior Director for Sexual Ethics and Advocacy
Leigh Goodrich, Senior Director of Education and Leadership
Gail Murphy-Geiss, Principal Researcher
Magaela C. Bethune, MS, MPA
While The United Methodist Church (UMC) membership is comprised 58% of women (Goodrich, 2017), women made up 28.4%
of UMC clergy positions in 2015. This is only a slight increase from 2003 and 2008 figures, which estimated clergywomen’s
representation to be 24% (Moy, 2010). While women remain underrepresented in clergy roles overall, there is variation
in how clergy are distributed by gender across the country. Further, there is regional variation in how clergywomen
are compensated, in comparison to clergymen. Led by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW),
a recent study used 2015 nationwide data provided by Wespath Benefits and Investments
 to determine geographic trends in clergywomen’s compensation. Researcher Magaela C. Bethune
 used quantitative analytical methods to examine the influence of gender and geography on the composition
and compensation of UMC clergy.
UMC clergywomen still receive substantially less compensation
Length of service, age, seniority, and regionality account for some gaps in pay
by Magaela C. Bethune, MS, MPA
by Rev. Leigh Goodrich
In spring, 2017, a General Desk Audit was requested by the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women.
The results showed some promising advances for women as compared with a similar audit performed in 2007.
Before we review the trends, there are some notable caveats in our comparison to the 2007 numbers.
This year’s audit does not include responses from Wespath. Also, the Office of Christian Unity
and Interreligious Relationships no longer exists. However, United Methodist Women and the Connectional
Table were new participants in 2017. These changes predictably skew some of the comparisons, however
we still find that general agencies lead the denomination in the promotion of women in their workforce.
Let’s look at the results.
In their most recent study, The State of Pastors, the Barna Group noted that the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the first woman to receive her party’s nomination for president of the United States was symbolic of the immense social shift made in the status of women in the U.S. over the past 50 years. A similar shift has been seen in women in ministerial roles in the United States, who have also slowly but steadily increased in their status and numbers in the Church, particularly the mainline church.
Principal Investigator: Rev. Gail Murphy-Geiss, Ph.D.
by Amanda Mountain and Leigh Goodrich
by Kelley Fenelon