‘The Church of England is a third of the way to gender equality’, according to the third edition of the Furlong Table of women clergy recently issued by GRAS (Group for Rescinding the Act of Synod). Named in honour of the late Monica Furlong, the table is available at:
The table uses official Anglican statistics for 2010 to calculate a gender equality score for each of the 43 dioceses (excluding Europe). The figure is a composite of the proportion of women in senior clerical posts and of women as other full-time stipendiary clergy. A perfect score would be 100, representing 50% of senior clergy and 50% of other clergy being female.
In 2000, the first time the data were analysed, the overall score for the Church of England was 18.6. This had risen to 25.8 in 2005. By 2010 it was 34.9, thereby having almost doubled in the preceding decade.
The top-scoring diocese in 2010 was St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, with 60.7, a leap from 27.5 in 2005. Two other dioceses also crossed the half-way point, Canterbury on 53.5 and Ripon and Leeds on 53.2. Twelve other dioceses achieved scores in the 40s.
Bottom of the list in 2010, and also in 2000 and 2005, were the dioceses of Chichester (11.2 in 2010), Blackburn (11.0) and Sodor and Man (0.0). Eighteen other dioceses fell below the national average, with Chester on the average.
The most improved diocese was Winchester, whose score rose from 13.5 in 2005 to 31.8 in 2010, moving it from 40th to 28th position in the table. Oxford, 1st in 2005, fell back to 7th in 2010, while St Albans dropped from 2nd to 16th and Ely from 3rd to 19th.
The statistics have been published as diocesan synods completed their consideration of the draft legislation on women bishops. It was approved in 42 of 44 dioceses, with only London and Chichester against.
According to a press release from WATCH (Women and the Church) on 15 November, 85% of bishops in synod voted for the draft legislation, 76% of clergy members, and 77% of lay members. The press release is at:
The final decision on women bishops is expected to be taken at General Synod in July 2012.