Women in Top Positions of Adventist Leadership Remain Extremely Rare

The Pew Research Center has released information about women in top positions of religious leadership. Pew’s finding: women as top religious leaders are rare. When it comes to Adventist leadership, women are extremely rare.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2016/03/08/women-top-positions-adventist-leadership-remain-extremely-rare

Are there other Adventist women who lead that come to mind for you? You’re invited to share their names and leadership positions in the comments in recognition of their contributions too!

Dr Carol Tasker is the Education Director for the South Pacific Division and Dr Danijela Schubart is the Associate Secretary for the South Pacific Division.


Brave women! None of them had any kind of top position in mind when they started. They just followed the call.


What’s the point? That, regardless of claims to the contrary, a top denominational leadership position is what really matters after all!

The position or office that exerts that greatest influence on the local congregation, whether it’s the largest or smallest, perhaps? WDYT?

Is pastoring the largest congregation comparable to a G.C. leadership? How can positions be quantified? What are the metrics?

There’s an irony to the whole conversation of leadership roles in light of Jesus’ teaching on the matter in Luke 22. Who is greater, the one who is “at the table” or the one who serves? I doubt that any of these women (mentioned above) jockeyed or politicked for their positions. Rather, they were nominated and placed there because of their qualifications for the job, their dedication to gospel ministry in all of its forms, and their desire to serve - even for “sacrificial wages”.


we have less than a year to wait before hillary is elected president…this will definitely make a difference with many in our church when it comes to recognizing women and their abilities…

in a way it’s sad that the significance of the holy spirit’s selection of egw has been lost on so many, and that we need the world to teach us a lesson we could have learned more than 100 yrs ago…but better late than never…


birder, this is not an intelligent comment…the sda church’s recognition of women and their abilities has been selective, which means it’s been non-existent…in particular, their management talent, noted by our prophet, 19MR:56, has been systematically overlooked, as you know…

as for hillary, she is the most admired woman in the world, an honor she has held for the past 14 consecutive yrs:

aside from her own stellar appeal, which eclipses completely the likes of maggie thatcher, queen elizabeth, angela merkel, dilma rousseff, tsai ing-wen, mary robinson, golda meir, christine lagarde, janet yellen, janet reno, etc., it is the case that the world looks to america in a way it does not any other country…a hillary presidency, particularly if it proves to be successful, can be expected to completely transform how many people in our world church view women…


This article by Jared Wright makes clear the very obvious reality that the church, our Adventist church, has failed in being gender inclusive and is not changing. Adventist women comprise more than 65% of the adults in the typical worship service in America. Some overseas congregations report ten women for every man in attendance. Volunteer ranks are heavily female. The not so secret reality is that gender bias against women at all levels of leadership in the church also affects men adversely. The less women are involved in leadership the less real church is for men. Exclusivity is detrimental to church growth and development.

It’s not just attendance where men trail women. Men are less likely to lead, volunteer and give in the church. They pray less, share their faith less and read the Bible less. The men who do go to church seem passive and bored. It’s often impossible to get churchgoing men to do anything other than attend services reluctantly.

Church is more than just a meeting. Church is all about being a community where inspiration to do greater good takes place, where deeper love is explored, where enriching relationships occur, where authentic living is the goal. It is impossible to have authenticity when there is open discrimination and bias against ordaining women. Church is supposed to be a community where individuals are respected and cared for, where gifts are used effectively, where people are challenged to grow beyond themselves. This is the SDA Church that I so frequently yearn for.

Men are an endangered species in our Adventist churches because there are not enough women church leaders. The church’s gender gap is often invisible because the top tier of church leadership is so heavily male. Leon Podles put it best: “The modern church is an army of women led by a few miniscule male generals.”

Men and women need the church – but more important, the church needs men and women. The presence of enthusiastic women and men without discriminating, is one of the surest predictors of church health, growth, giving and expansion. Meanwhile, a man shortage is a sure sign of congregational paralysis and decline in our churches.


At least to those who support WO and Male Headship, perhaps this is what the Lord had in mind when He created Adam ahead of Eve - that His choice of creating Adam ahead of Eve would eventually be detrimental to church growth and development. After all, isn’t He omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent?

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What does a Hillary Clinton presidency have to do with the SDA Church “recognizing women and their abilities?” We’ve been doing that for a long time anyway. Recognizing their abilities is a separate issue from WO. Why would Hillary have any more of an impact than Maggie Thatcher? She was well known around the world when she was PM.

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Jared Wright article should be buried and sealed in a ‘Time Capsule’ clock set for exhumation in the year 2115. Upon exhumation does the question after 100 years have, ‘Women In Top Position Of Adventist Leadership ’ Jared wrote about in 2016 still rare or has been burnt or charred in 2115? Jared and I will be long gone. Draconian Corporate Sectarian America including the Seventh-day Adventist America GC and Global Adventist Conferences continue treating women the widely disparate factions. The women face-off against the Draconian must begins today. It’s time for a define WOMEN REVOLUTION not to play nice!

Hillary will surely be our next president, and I predict that she will provoke a backlash toward female leadership among conservative SDAs in step with a similar backlash by the conservative pundits they pay close attention to at Fox News and elsewhere. The net result may well be greater divisiveness in the Church. (I hope I’m wrong.)


Ronin appears to be saying, It is TIME for Women of the SDA church to have a Revolution, much like the women did in the late 1800’s, early 1900 when they asked for Vote both in England [one of Queen Victoria’s daughters left the palace by day and marched with them] and in the United States.

There is a very small one with the “&” sign button, and the black shirts and dresses worn at church. But is NOT making much headway among the general population.
I think the Comment by Sam Geli tells the tale of Passive Women in the Church as a collective whole. I dont know about other Sda church groups, but the women in my church do not think it is right to even have a woman elder. They are in the belief that an all-male run local church is God spoke from the Bible.

Paul stated that the Holy Spirit gives “Gifts unto men”, and MEN have taken this literally. And so have Women. That ONLY men have Spiritual Gifts to lead the Spiritual Church. As long as we have persons like Doug Batchelor and others giving their 27 reasons why Women Are Inferior to men, we will have Men who say Women are Inferior in gifts and Brain Power to think and to do as well as men. They will believe the LIE that they are inferior because God made them Inferior to Men through Eve.
Male children will also grow up believing this LIE as we saw at SA2015.
This LIE has permeated our SDA church world wide.
It was Natzi Germany and Goebbels who said, If you tell a LIE often enuf and long enuf, it will become the TRUTH in people’s minds. That is what has happened in the SDA church in regards to Women’s status before God and the Holy Spirit.
And so we have a Church where 35% of the [male] members believing that 65% of the [female] members are Inferior by CREATION, and we have the 65% believing this is so because the MEN told them so.

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@webEd When will this article appear in The Lounge for more extensive comments and discussion?

It appears that the "glass ceiling * is pretty much intact in Adventism.

Not a good message to send to oir academy/college girls nor for that matter the young males in our midst.

No wonder the millenials group,departs on a massive exodus!

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It’s the same for the women in a church I attended quite recently. They overwhelmingly opposed a more gender balanced nominating committee proposed by one young man in the church.

I couldn’t believe my eyes at number of women who were against it and used their majority in numbers to vote for a significantly male dominated committee.

Considering the fact that it was a gentleman who suggested parity in the numbers made it the more confusing.


As far as the presidency goes, it appears the only qualification for a woman to become president is- that she be a woman. Character and past history don’t seem to matter. That’s called pandering and is an insult to women rather than an equalizer. There is nothing more demeaning to a woman than to be elected or appointed into any position “just because she’s a woman”. Neither is there anything more racist than to lower qualifications to meet racial quotas - part of the same thing. I

I’m sure all these women who are in “top positions” are fine upstanding people. But, if we’re going to have a woman president, then, at least let it be someone we can hold up to our daughters as a role model in other areas of life besides the messy business of politics.


Perhaps the church is practicing Scripture:

“Women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.” 1 Cor 14

Unless we accept the idea that culture often influences Scripture. Does it really? Is this not dangerous for church dogmas? Can we let individual’s decide what is universal in nature or what is binding because they perceive it as related to civil norms of an era? Of course, our era is skewed against gender bias unlike any other historical epic. Who among the Ancient Greeks, Romans or Puritans could ever comprehend why we are so agitated for gender equality? I believe they would think we are out of our minds.

*Question: You ask, “Can we let individuals decide…?” What? How does one not let individuals decide? What do you suggest as an enforcement method to make sure no one decides a matter for themselves?
Answer: Maybe GC decrees should work more more like the Papal model of governance? Maybe members should pledge to follow & obey church policy upon baptism? Maybe its time for a new prophet or Moses to lead us? Maybe all who disagree with Scripture should be dis-fellowshiped (nobody disagreed with Moses and lived)? Maybe the GC should appoint all the Conference, Union and college Presidents, to remove all descent? Maybe we should avoid issues that divide us until a 90% majority view is obtained? Maybe we should fast and pray in an Upper Room until the Gender issue is resolved (or malnutrition sets in)? Maybe we should split the SDA church into several groups based on their view of Scripture (Amazing Facts could lead one group)? Maybe we should love one another and hope it all works out for good? Maybe we should have direct membership vote of the GC leaders every two years to provide for diversity? Maybe we should sell the GC head-quarters and decentralize allowing more self-governance of individual churches, like the Northern Baptist? Maybe should alternate every 2-4 years with male or female leadership on every church level? Maybe we should follow the pattern of the OT God set up with 100% male priesthood club and be done with the gender issue?

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Women are not seen as “high achievers” unless it’s in a traditionally male field such a banking, high finance and tech giants. Remember when men began nursing, it suddenly became more respected, not limited to females? Males teaching kindergarten are rare and not given the same respect as high school teachers. Until more women are in what have been considered “male only” they will not be given equal respect.

As for a woman president, she is no better nor worse than the males who have all preceded her. Women have always been expected to have higher standards. Mothers of both realize that “it ain’t necessarily so”.
@George Tichy @elmer_cupino