First delegations near gender parity

July 15, 2014

CHICAGO - United Methodist News Service 

Of the 11 U.S. annual (regional) conferences that have elected delegates so far for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference, women are close to achieving parity with men, the July "Women by the Numbers" report from the Commission on the Status and Role of Women shows.

First delegations show gender parity

By Erin Kane, GCSRW Director of Research and Monitoring

Over Independence Day weekend, I attended an event that included a reading of the Declaration of Independence. Many citizens become familiar with this document in their American history classes as children, but few know the declaration served as a model for an important document in women’s history 72 years later. The Declaration of Sentiments was signed on July 19, 1848, at the very first  Women’s Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., an event convened to address women’s rights and women’s issues, most notably suffrage.

Methodism has a special place in the history of women’s suffrage. Anna Howard Shaw was not only one of the first women to be ordained by the Methodist Protestant Church, she also was an ardent suffragist.  After her ordination in 1880, she would go on to promote women’s suffrage through grassroots leadership and later as the president of the National American Woman’s Suffrage Association from 1904-1915. She died just a few months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which won women the right to vote.

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