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
by Kelley Fenelon
We must also attend to the race and ethnicity of district superintendents if we hope to gain an understanding of representation among their ranks and ensure that we do not perpetuate discriminatory attitudes in their appointment. These data show that our church leadership remains largely white: 79% white, in fact.