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The PC(USA) needs gender equity


Time’s up, #MeToo and #ChurchToo

By Rhashell Hunter | The Racial Ethnic Torch

Presbyterian Women participating in a march for peace and justice for all women. Courtesy of Presbyterian Women

LOUISVILLE – The 2016 presidential electoral campaign brought up issues that were disturbing to many women. The criteria for fitness of the woman candidate for the office of president, such as comments about the clothes she wore, for example, were standards seemingly not imposed on male candidates in the race. The comments surrounding women’s bodies were also alarming. These conversations brought up a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for some women, as they themselves have experienced sexual harassment and discrimination.

A recent PC(USA) Gender and Leadership in the Church research project found that eight out of ten women teaching elders have experienced discrimination, harassment, and/or prejudicial comments due to their gender, and four out of ten feel that they have experienced gender bias in hiring, promotion or selection for an official position within the PC(USA) (to see these findings, go to

While we celebrate the many women ministers and heads of staff in the PC(USA), and also that the 222nd General Assembly (2016) elected two clergywomen as co-moderators, the Rev. Tanya Denise Anderson and the Rev. Jan Edmiston — the first all-women moderatorial team in the history of our church — we are saddened by the stories of sexism and discrimination that many clergywomen, in particular, still share. This is the very time to recommit to a common goal to create an awareness of sexism and institutional racism in the church and create an environment where women Presbyterians can serve fully in ministry and leadership.

At the 223rd General Assembly (2018), there are many issues of interest to women, including sexual misconduct, paid family leave, gun violence, mental illness, calling for an immediate moratorium on all executions, celebrating the gifts of people of diverse gender identities, climate change, divesting from fossil fuels, environmental racism, addressing disparities experienced by black women and girls, and more. 

At the GA Women of Faith Awards Breakfast on Sunday, June 17, from 7:30–9:15 a.m. at the Marriott Grand in St. Louis, we will recognize the faithful witness of three “Clergywomen Who Challenge Racism and Injustice.” The 2018 awardees are Amantha Barbee, Charlotte, North Carolina; Karen Hernandez-Granzen, Trenton, New Jersey; and Liz Theoharis, New York City.

And the Women’s Orientation breakfast will be held at GA on Saturday, June 16, from 7:00–9:00 a.m. at the Marriott Grand in St. Louis. Connect with women who are working to take us to a time of accountability and equality. Gain wisdom and insights while interacting with the co-moderators of the 222nd G.A. (2016) and discover how the voices of women will be heard at General Assembly. To read the joint statement on sexual injustice issued by Presbyterian Women and the Advocacy Committee for Women’s Concerns, go to  

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