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Patterns of Lay Resistance to Women in Ministry

Edward C. Lehman, Jr.
Sociological Analysis
Vol. 41, No. 4 (Winter, 1980), pp. 317-338
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.2307/3709887
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3709887
Page Count: 22
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Patterns of Lay Resistance to Women in Ministry
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Abstract

Analysis of data from a national sample of the laity in a mainline Protestant denomination documented three dimensions of resistance to women in ministry-tendencies to define women in ministry in stereotypical terms, to prefer males in specific ministerial roles and to overtly discriminate against female candidates for church positions. Path analysis indicated that exogenous variables in the model constituted two clusters of factors differentially influencing resistance to women. One cluster directly affects tendency to stereotype. It is composed of factors associated with three theories of prejudice, i.e., antipathies as consequences of differences in theological beliefs, as manifestations of prejudice in general and as reflections of persons' reference groups. These variables appear to influence the other two dimensions of receptivity only indirectly. The second cluster mostly affects willingness to discriminate against clergywomen and consists primarily of variables incorporated in structural theories of behavior, especially characteristics of the respondents' local churches as organizations. The effects of structural variables is interpreted as an indication of members' concern for maintaining the organizational viability of the local church.

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