Prayerfully consider the following questions and write down your answers:


Examine your process for hiring: From where do you recruit new staff? Do you recruit from communities that are open to and invitational toward women or are they primarily male communities or institutions (universities, seminaries, denominational pools, etc.)? Are you deliberately recruiting from female-centered or female-promoting communities? Why or why not? Who does the recruiting; men, women, or teams of men and women?


What is your church’s family leave policy? Given women are often the primary caretakers of vulnerable family members, a robust family leave policy makes it easeier for women to work at your church. How might your church make caring for family easier to balance when working at your church?


What are your expectations for male candidates versus female candidates with respect to spouse or children? How do you engage candidates without a spouse or children? Is it considered a mark against them? Why or why not? Are there gendered reasons behind your expectations?


What has traditionally been the role of the pastor’s spouse in your church? Are expectations different for pastor’s spouses who are women versus men?


Look at your job description and hiring questions: How might they be gendered? Are your descriptions based on cultural expectations and norms or biblical expectations and norms? Have you created competency based questions so candidates can respond according to their skills? How do salaries compare between male and female employees? 


Is the culture in your church prepared to recognize and challenge gendered assumptions? How might it be better prepared?


Notice who is given or who claims credit for projects or decision-making in the church. Are there differences between men and women? Who puts in the most labor? Who gets the credit? Are there examples of times when men took credit for women’s ideas?


Ask managers with legal permission to review your staff evaluations from past years. Do you see any patterns when looking at reviews for men versus reviews for women? Were the reviews designed by men and women? Administered by both men and women? Did both men and women have a chance to weigh in? 


Are you aware of the phenomenon of the “glass cliff?”1 Even when women are hired for higher-level positions, they often lack the support necessary to fully succeed. Additionally, they are often hired to address serious challenges in an organization, and expected to right the course of a vehicle that has been running for years, even decades, in a particular direction. When success does not happen as quickly or dramatically as the organization might hope, the woman is blamed for the failure even though, in many ways, she has been set up to fail. Have you seen it play out in your church?


1 Amy Bernstein, “Why Are We So Hard on Female CEOs?”, Harvard Business Review, May 2015, https://hbr.org/2015/05/why-are-we-so-hard-on-female-ceos, accessed May 4, 2023.

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