Ordination of women
Ordination in general religious usage is the process by which a person is consecrated (set apart for the administration of various religious rites). The ordination of women is a regular practice among some major religious groups, as it was of several religions of antiquity. It remains a controversial issue in religions or denominations in which the rite of ordination, or the role that an ordained person fulfills, has traditionally been restricted to men, either because of cultural prohibition, theological doctrine, or both.
Sumeria and Akkadia
- Sumerian and Akkadian EN were top-ranking priestesses distinguished by special ceremonial attire and holding equal status to high priests. They owned property, transacted business, and initiated the hieros gamos ceremony with priests and kings. En-hedu-ana (2,285 BC–2,250 BC), an Akkadian woman, was the first known holder of the title "EN Priestess".
- Ishtaritu were temple prostitutes who specialized in the arts of dancing, music, and singing and served in the temples of Ishtar.
- Puabi was a NIN, a Semitic Akkadian priestess in the 26th century BCE.
- Nadītu served as priestesses in the temples of Inanna in the ancient city of Erech. They were recruited from the highest families in the land and were supposed to remain childless; they owned property and transacted business.
- In Sumerian epic texts such as Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta, Nu-Gig were priestesses in temples dedicated to Inanna, or may be a reference to the goddess herself.
- Qedesha (קדשה) or Kedeshah, derived from the root Q-D-Š, are mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as temple prostitutes usually associated with the goddess Asherah. Quadishtu were temple prostitutes who served in the temples of the Sumerian goddess Qetesh.
- In the Epic of Gilgamesh, the priestess Shamhat tamed wild Enkidu after "six days and seven nights."
In Ancient Egyptian religion, God's Wife of Amun was the highest ranking priestess; this title was held by a daughter of the High Priest of Amun, during the reign of Hatshepsut, while the capital of Egypt was in Thebes during the second millennium BCE (circa 2160 BCE).
Later, Divine Adoratrice of Amun was a title created for the chief priestess of Amun. During the first millennium BCE, when the holder of this office exercised her largest measure of influence, her position was an important appointment facilitating the transfer of power from one pharaoh to the next, when his daughter was adopted to fill it by the incumbent office holder. The Divine Adoratrice ruled over the extensive temple duties and domains, controlling a significant part of the ancient Egyptian economy.
Ancient Egyptian priestesses:
In ancient Greek religion, some important observances, such as the Thesmophoria, were conducted only by women; men were excluded. Priestesses played a major role in the Eleusinian Mysteries. The Gerarai were priestesses of Dionysus who presided over festivals and rituals associated with the god. A body of priestesses might also maintain the cult at a particular holy site, such as the Peleiades at the oracle of Dodona. The Arrephoroi were girls ages seven to eleven who served as acolytes of Athena Polias on the Athenian Acropolis and were charged with conducting unique rituals.
Women priestesses served as oracles at several sites, the most famous of which is the Oracle of Delphi. The priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi was the Pythia, credited throughout the Greco-Roman world for her prophecies, which gave her a prominence unusual for a woman in male-dominated ancient Greece. The Phrygian Sibyl presided over an oracle of Apollo in Anatolian Phrygia. The inspired speech of divining women, however, was interpreted by male priests; a woman might be a mantic (mantis) who became the mouthpiece of a deity through possession, but the "prophecy of interpretation" required specialized knowledge and was considered a rational process suited only for a male '"prophet" (prophētēs).
The Latin word sacerdos, "priest," is the same for both the masculine and feminine form. In Roman state religion, the priesthood of the Vestals was responsible for the continuance and security of Rome as embodied by the sacred fire that they could not allow to go out. The Vestals were a college of six sacerdotes (plural) devoted to Vesta, goddess of the hearth, both the focus of a private home (domus) and the state hearth that was the center of communal religion. Freed of the usual social obligations to marry and rear children, the Vestals took a vow of chastity in order to devote themselves to the study and correct observance of state rituals that were off-limits to the male colleges of priests. They retained their religious authority until the era of Christian dominance, when the Christian emperor Gratian confiscated their revenues and his successor Theodosius I closed the Temple of Vesta permanently.
The Romans also had at least two priesthoods that were each held jointly by a married couple, the rex and regina sacrorum, and the flamen and flaminica Dialis. The regina sacrorum ("queen of the sacred rites") and the flaminica Dialis (high priestess of Jupiter) each had her own distinct duties and presided over public sacrifices, the regina on the first day of every month, and the flaminica every nundinal cycle (the Roman equivalent of a week). The highly public nature of these sacrifices, like the role of the Vestals, indicates that women's religious activities in ancient Rome were not restricted to the private or domestic sphere. So essential was the gender complement to these priesthoods that if the wife died, the husband had to give up his office.
The title sacerdos was often specified in relation to a deity or temple, such as a sacerdos Cereris or Cerealis, "priestess of Ceres", an office never held by men. Female sacerdotes played a leading role in the sanctuaries of Ceres and Proserpina in Rome and throughout Italy that observed so-called "Greek rite" (ritus graecus). This form of worship had spread from Sicily under Greek influence, and the Aventine cult of Ceres in Rome was headed by male priests. Only women celebrated the rites of the Bona Dea ("Good Goddess"), for whom sacerdotes are recorded.
From the Mid Republic onward, religious diversity became increasingly characteristic of the city of Rome. Many religions that were not part of Rome's earliest state religion offered leadership roles as priests for women, among them the imported cult of Isis and of the Magna Mater ("Great Mother", or Cybele). An epitaph preserves the title sacerdos maxima for a woman who held the highest priesthood of the Magna Mater's temple near the current site of St. Peter's Basilica. Inscriptions for the Imperial era record priestesses of Juno Populona and of deified women of the Imperial household.
Under some circumstances, when cults such as mystery religions were introduced to Romans, it was preferred that they be maintained by women. Although it was Roman practice to incorporate other religions instead of trying to eradicate them, the secrecy of some mystery cults was regarded with suspicion. In 189 BCE, the senate attempted to suppress the Bacchanals, claiming the secret rites corrupted morality and were a hotbed of political conspiracy. One provision of the senatorial decree was that only women should serve as priests of the Dionysian religion, perhaps to guard against the politicizing of the cult, since even Roman women who were citizens lacked the right to vote or hold political office. Priestesses of Liber, the Roman god identified with Dionysus, are mentioned by the 1st-century BC scholar Varro, as well as indicated by epigraphic evidence.
Other religious titles for Roman women include magistra, a high priestess, female expert or teacher; and ministra, a female assistant, particularly one in service to a deity. A magistra or ministra would have been responsible for the regular maintenance of a cult. Epitaphs provide the main evidence for these priesthoods, and the woman is often not identified in terms of her marital status.
The tradition of the ordained monastic community in Buddhism (the sangha) began with the Buddha, who established an order of monks. According to the scriptures, later, after an initial reluctance, he also established an order of nuns. Fully ordained Buddhist nuns are called bhikkhunis.  Mahapajapati Gotami, the aunt and foster mother of Buddha, was the first bhikkhuni.
However, the bhikkhuni ordination once existing in the countries where Theravada is more widespread died out around the 10th century, and novice ordination has also disappeared in those countries. Therefore, women who wish to live as nuns in those countries must do so by taking eight or ten precepts. Neither laywomen nor formally ordained, these women do not receive the recognition, education, financial support or status enjoyed by Buddhist men in their countries. These "precept-holders" live in Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Nepal, and Thailand. Japan is a special case as, although it has neither the bhikkhuni nor novice ordinations, the precept-holding nuns who live there do enjoy a higher status and better education than their precept-holder sisters elsewhere, and can even become Zen priests.
The bhikkhuni ordination of Buddhist nuns has always been practiced in East Asia. Also, bhikkhuni ordination of Buddhist nuns began again in Sri Lanka in 1998 after a lapse of 900 years. In 2003 Ayya Sudhamma became the first American-born woman to receive bhikkhuni ordination in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, on February 28, 2003, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, formerly known as Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, became the first Thai woman to receive bhikkhuni ordination as a Theravada nun (Theravada is a school of Buddhism). Dhammananda Bhikkhuni was ordained in Sri Lanka. A 55-year-old Buddhist nun, Varanggana Vanavichayen, became the first female monk to be ordained in Thailand in 2002. She was ordained by a Sri Lankan woman monk in the presence of a male Thai monk. Theravada scriptures, as interpreted in Thailand, require that for a woman to be ordained as a monk, the ceremony must be attended by both a male and female monk. In 2009 in Australia four women received bhikkhuni ordination as Theravada nuns, the first time such ordination had occurred in Australia.
In 1998 Sherry Chayat, born in Brooklyn, became the first American woman to receive transmission in the Rinzai school of Buddhism.In 2006 Merle Kodo Boyd, born in Texas, became the first African-American woman ever to receive Dharma transmission in Zen Buddhism. Also in 2006, for the first time in American history, a Buddhist ordination was held where an American woman (Sister Khanti-Khema) took the Samaneri (novice) vows with an American monk (Bhante Vimalaramsi) presiding. This was done for the Buddhist American Forest Tradition at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center in Missouri. In 2010 the first Buddhist nunnery in America (Vajra Dakini Nunnery in Vermont) was officially consecrated. It offers novice ordination. It is a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery that follows the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism. The abbot of the Vajra Dakini nunnery is Khenmo Drolma, an American woman, who is the first bhikkhuni in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, having been ordained in Taiwan in 2002. She is also the first westerner, male or female, to be installed as an abbot in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, having been installed as the abbot of the Vajra Dakini Nunnery in 2004. The Vajra Dakini Nunnery does not follow The Eight Garudhammas.
In the liturgical traditions of Christianity, including the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy, Lutheranism and Anglicanism, the term ordination refers more narrowly to the means by which a person is included in one of the orders of bishops, priests or deacons. This is distinguished from the process of consecration to religious orders, namely nuns and monks, which are open to women and men.
Some Protestant denominations understand ordination more generally as the acceptance of a person for pastoral work.
A number of Anglican provinces also ordain women as bishops, though, as of 2010, only four of the provinces have done so: the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican churches of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Cuba, one of the extra-provincial Anglican churches, has done so as well.
- In 1989, Barbara Harris was the first woman ordained as a bishop in the Anglican Communion, for the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.
- In 1990, Penny Jamieson was ordained a bishop in New Zealand for the Diocese of Dunedin.
- In 1993, Victoria Matthews was elected a suffragan bishop in the Diocese of Toronto, Canada on 19 November, consecrated February 1994.
- In 2007, Nerva Cot Aguilera was ordained a bishop in the Episcopal Church of Cuba.
- In 2008, Kay Goldsworthy was ordained as an assistant bishop for the Diocese of Perth.
The Anglican church in Ireland has permitted the ordination of women as bishops since 1990 but none have yet occurred. The Anglican church in Scotland also permits the ordination of women as bishops since 2003, but none have yet been appointed.
On June 18, 2006, the Episcopal Church in the United States was the first Anglican province to appoint a woman, Katharine Jefferts Schori, as their Primate (the highest position possible in an Anglican province), called the "Presiding Bishop" in the United States.
With the October 16, 2010, ordination of Margaret Lee, in the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy, Illinois, women have been ordained as priests in all 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
Jehovah's Witnesses consider qualified public baptism to represent the baptizand's ordination, following which he or she is immediately considered an ordained minister. In 1941, the Supreme Court of Vermont recognized the validity of this ordination for a female Jehovah's Witness minister. The majority of Witnesses actively preaching from door to door are female. Women are commonly appointed as full-time ministers, either to evangelize as "pioneers" or missionaries, or to serve at their branch offices.
Nevertheless, Witness deacons ("ministerial servants") and elders must be male, and only a baptized adult male may perform a Jehovah's Witness baptism, funeral, or wedding. Within the congregation, a female Witness minister may only lead prayer and teaching when there is a special need, and must do so wearing a head covering.
Latter Day Saints
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not ordain women. However, some (most notably D. Michael Quinn and Margaret Toscano) argue that the church ordained women in the past and that therefore the church currently has the power to ordain women and should do so.
The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints adopted the practice of women's ordination in 1984, which resulted in a major schism between the Community of Christ which accepted women in the priesthood and the newly formed Restoration Branches movement which rejected women in the priesthood.
Of all the churches in the Liberal Catholic movement, only the original church, the Liberal Catholic Church under Bishop Graham Wale, does not ordain women. The position held by the Liberal Catholic Church is the same as the Roman Catholic Church, that the church, even if it wanted to ordain women, does not have the authority to do so that and it is not possible for a woman to be ordained even if she went through the ceremony.
Nevertheless, the first Presiding Bishop of the Liberal Catholic Church, J.I. Wedgwood, allegedly consecrated Annie Besant as a bishop in 1925 according to the late Bishop Sigrid Fjellander who was present at the ceremony.
The Orthodox Churches follow a similar line of reasoning as the Roman Catholic Church with respect to ordination of priests, and does not allow women's ordination.
The order of deaconesses seems definitely to have been considered an "ordained" ministry during early centuries in at any rate the Christian East. ... Some Orthodox writers regard deaconesses as having been a "lay" ministry. There are strong reasons for rejecting this view. In the Byzantine rite the liturgical office for the laying-on of hands for the deaconess is exactly parallel to that for the deacon; and so on the principle lex orandi, lex credendi—the Church's worshipping practice is a sure indication of its faith—it follows that the deaconesses receives, as does the deacon, a genuine sacramental ordination: not just a χειροθεσια (chirothesia) but a χειροτονια (chirotonia). However, the ordination of women in the Catholic Church does exist. Although it is not widespread, it is official by the Roman Catholic Church.
On October 8, 2004, the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church of Greece voted to permit the ordination of monastic women deacons, that is, women deacons to minister and assist at the liturgy within their own monasteries. There is a strong monastic tradition, pursued by both men and women in the Orthodox churches, where monks and nuns lead identical spiritual lives. Unlike Western-rite Catholic religious life, which has myriad traditions, both contemplative and active (see Benedictine monks, Franciscan friars, Jesuits), that of Orthodoxy has remained exclusively ascetic and monastic.
A key theological doctrine for Reformed and most other Protestants is the priesthood of all believers—a doctrine considered by them so important that it has been dubbed by some as "a clarion truth of Scripture."
This doctrine restores true dignity and true integrity to all believers since it teaches that all believers are priests and that as priests, they are to serve God—no matter what legitimate vocation they pursue. Thus, there is no vocation that is more 'sacred' than any other. Because Christ is Lord over all areas of life, and because His word applies to all areas of life, nowhere does His Word even remotely suggest that the ministry is 'sacred' while all other vocations are 'secular.' Scripture knows no sacred-secular distinction. All of life belongs to God. All of life is sacred. All believers are priests."
— David Hagopian. Trading Places: The Priesthood of All Believers.
Most Protestant denominations require pastors, ministers, deacons, and elders to be formally ordained.
Traditionally, these roles were male preserves, but over the last century an increasing number of denominations have begun ordaining women. The Church of England appointed female lay readers during the First World War. Later the United Church of Canada in 1936 and the American United Methodist Church in 1956 also began to ordain women.
Meanwhile, women's ministry has been part of Methodist tradition in Britain for over 200 years. In the late 18th century in England, John Wesley allowed for female office-bearers and preachers.
The Salvation Army has allowed the ordination of women since its beginning, although it was a hotly-disputed topic between William and Catherine Booth. The fourth, thirteenth, and nineteenth Generals of the Salvation Army were women.
Today, over half of all American Protestant denominations ordain women, but some restrict the official positions a woman can hold. For instance, some ordain women for the military or hospital chaplaincy but prohibit them from serving in congregational roles. Over one-third of all seminary students (and in some seminaries nearly half) are female.
The Protestant denominations that refuse to ordain women often do so on the basis of New Testament scriptures that they interpret as prohibiting women from fulfilling church roles that require ordination An especially important consideration here is the way 1 Timothy 2:12 is translated and interpreted in the New Testament.
The teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, as emphasised by Pope John Paul II in the apostolic letter "Ordinatio sacerdotalis", is "that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." This teaching is embodied in the current canon law (specifically canon law 1024) and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, by the canonical statement: "Only a baptized man (in Latin, vir) validly receives sacred ordination." Insofar as priestly and episcopal ordination are concerned, the Roman Catholic Church teaches that this requirement is a matter of divine law; it belongs to the deposit of faith and is unchangeable. In 2007, the Holy See issued a decree saying that the attempted ordination of women would result in automatic excommunication for the women and priests trying to ordain them. In 2010, the Holy See stated that the ordination of women is a "grave delict".
In 1970 Ludmila Javorova attempted ordination as a Catholic priest in Czechoslovakia by a friend of her family, Bishop Felix Davidek (1921–88), himself clandestinely consecrated, due to the shortage of priests caused by communist persecution; however, in February 2000 an official statement from the Holy See declared the ordinations invalid while recognizing the severe circumstances under which they occurred.
Some dissenting scholars (for example, Father Robert W. Hovda, Robert J. Karris and Damien Casey) have written in favor of ordaining women. Furthermore, 12 groups have been founded throughout the world advocating for women's ordination in the Catholic Church. Women's Ordination Worldwide, founded in 1996 in Austria, is a network of national and international groups whose primary mission is the admission of Roman Catholic women to all ordained ministries, including Catholic Women's Ordination (founded in March 1993 in the United Kingdom), Roman Catholic Womenpriests (founded in 2002 in America), Women's Ordination Conference (founded in 1975 in America) and others.
Both women and men serve at all levels of the Eckankar organization in clergy and leadership roles, and both women and men can become ECK Masters. However, the Mahanta (the Living ECK Master) must be male.
Furthermore, both men and women are gurus (gurus are teachers of Hinduism but are not always ordained; when they are, it is by their own guru).
Some of the chapters of the Vedas were written by women, and there is a famous debate between a man and a woman in the Upanishads in which she bests him.
Indigenous and ethnic religions
The Yoruba people of western Nigeria practice an indigenous religion with a religious hierarchy of priests and priestesses that dates to 800-1000 CE. Ifá priests and priestesses bear the titles Babalowo for men and Iyanifa for females. Priests and priestess of the varied Orisha are titled Babalorisa for men and Iyalorisa for women. Initiates are also given an Orisa or Ifá name that signifies under which deity they are initiated; for example a Priestess of Oshun may be named Osunyemi and a Priest of Ifá may be named Ifáyemi. This ancient culture continues to this day as initiates from all around the world return to Nigeria for initiation into the traditional priesthood.
The indigenous religion of Okinawa, Japan is led by female priests; this makes it the only known official mainstream religion of a society led by women.
Although Muslims do not formally ordain religious leaders, the imam serves as a spiritual leader and religious authority. There is a current controversy among Muslims on the circumstances in which women may act as imams—that is, lead a congregation in salat (prayer). Three of the four Sunni schools, as well as many Shia, agree that a woman may lead a congregation consisting of women alone in prayer, although the Maliki school does not allow this. According to all currently existing traditional schools of Islam, a woman cannot lead a mixed gender congregation in salat (prayer). Some schools make exceptions for Tarawih (optional Ramadan prayers) or for a congregation consisting only of close relatives. Certain medieval scholars—including Al-Tabari (838–932), Abu Thawr (764–854), Al-Muzani (791–878), and Ibn Arabi (1165–1240)—considered the practice permissible at least for optional (nafila) prayers; however, their views are not accepted by any major surviving group. Islamic feminists have begun to protest this.
Women's mosques, called nusi, and female imams have existed since the 19th century in China and continue today.
In 1994, Amina Wadud, (an Islamic studies professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, born in the United States), became the first woman in South Africa to deliver the jum'ah khutbah (Friday sermon), which she did at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa.
In 2004, in Canada, Yasmin Shadeer led the night 'Isha prayer for a mixed-gender (men as well as women praying and hearing the sermon) congregation. This is the first recorded occasion in modern times where a woman led a congregation in prayer in a mosque.
On March 18, 2005, Amina Wadud gave a sermon and led Friday prayers for a Muslim congregation consisting of men as well as women, with no curtain dividing the men and women. Another woman, Suheyla El-Attar, sounded the call to prayer while not wearing a headscarf at that same event. This was done in the Synod House of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York after mosques refused to host the event. This was the first known time that a woman had led a mixed-gender Muslim congregation in prayer in American history.
In April 2005, Raheel Raza, born in Pakistan, led Toronto's first woman-led mixed-gender Friday prayer service, delivering the sermon and leading the prayers of the mixed-gender congregation organized by the Muslim Canadian Congress to celebrate Earth Day in the backyard of the downtown Toronto home of activist Tarek Fatah.
On July 1, 2005, Pamela Taylor, a Muslim convert since 1986, became the first woman to lead Friday prayers in a Canadian mosque, and did so for a congregation of both men and women. Pamela Taylor is an American convert to Islam and co-chair of the New York-based Progressive Muslim Union. In addition to leading the prayers, Taylor also gave a sermon on the importance of equality among people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and disability.
In October 2005, Amina Wadud led a mixed gender congregational prayer in Barcelona.
In 2010, Raheel Raza became the first Muslim-born woman to lead a mixed-gender British congregation through Friday prayers.
Only men can become rabbis in Orthodox Judaism (although there has been one female Hasidic rebbe, Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, also known as the Maiden of Ludmir, active in the 19th century); however all other types of Judaism allow and have female rabbis. In 1935 Regina Jonas was ordained privately by a German rabbi and became the world's first female rabbi. Sally Priesand became the first female rabbi in Reform Judaism in 1972, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso became the first female rabbi in Reconstructionist Judaism in 1974, Lynn Gottlieb became the first female rabbi in Jewish Renewal in 1981, Amy Eilberg became the first female rabbi in Conservative Judaism in 1985, and Tamara Kolton became the very first rabbi of either sex (and therefore, since she was female, the first female rabbi) in Humanistic Judaism in 1999. Women in these types of Judaism are routinely granted semicha (meaning ordination) on an equal basis with men.
Only men can become cantors in Orthodox Judaism, but all other types of Judaism allow and have female cantors. In 1955 Betty Robbins, born in Greece, became the world's first female cantor when she was appointed cantor of the Reform congregation of Temple Avodah in Oceanside, New York, in July. Barbara Ostfeld-Horowitz became the first female cantor to be ordained in Reform Judaism in 1975. Erica Lippitz and Marla Rosenfeld Barugel became the first female cantors in Conservative Judaism in 1987. However, the Cantors Assembly, a professional organization of cantors associated with Conservative Judaism, did not allow women to join until 1990. In 2001 Deborah Davis became the first cantor of either sex (and therefore, since she was female, the first female cantor) in Humanistic Judaism, although Humanistic Judaism has since stopped graduating cantors. Sharon Hordes became the first cantor of either sex (and therefore, since she was female, the first female cantor) in Reconstructionist Judaism in 2002. Avitall Gerstetter, who lives in Germany, became the first female cantor in Jewish Renewal (and the first female cantor in Germany) in 2002. Susan Wehle became the first American female cantor in Jewish Renewal in 2006; however, she died in 2009. The first American women to be ordained as cantors in Jewish Renewal after Susan Wehle's ordination were Michal Rubin and Abbe Lyons, both ordained on January 10, 2010.
In Shintoism, Saiin (斎院, saiin?) were unmarried female relatives of the Japanese emperor, termed Saiō in the singular, who served as high priestesses at Ise Grand Shrine from the late 7th century until the 14th century. Ise Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the goddess Amaterasu-ōmikami. Saiin priestesses were usually elected from royalty (内親王, naishinnō) such as princesses (女王, joō). In principle, Saiin remained unmarried, but there were exceptions. Some Saiin became consorts of the Emperor, called Nyōgo in Japanese. According to the Man'yōshū (The Anthology of Ten Thousand Leaves), the first Saiō to serve at Ise Grand Shrine was Princess Oku, daughter of Emperor Temmu, during the Asuka period of Japanese history.
Sikhism does not have priests, which were abolished by Guru Gobind Singh, as the guru had seen that institution become corrupt in society during his time. Instead, he appointed the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book, as his successor as Guru instead of a possibly fallible human; and due to the faith's belief in complete equality, women can participate in any religious function and/or perform any Sikh ceremony and/or lead the congregation in prayer. A Sikh woman has the right to become a Granthi, Ragi, and one of the Panj Pyare (5 beloved); both men and women are considered capable of reaching the highest levels of spirituality.
Taoists ordain both men and women as priests. In 2009 Wu Chengzhen became the first female Fangzhang (meaning principal abbot) in Taoism's 1,800-year history after being enthroned at Changchun Temple in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, in China. Fangzhang is the highest position in a Taoist temple.
Some significant dates and events
A list with dates of important events in the history of women's ordination appears below:Christianity
Theology 4 major positions Church and society
Christianity and homosexuality
Ordination of women
Women in Church history
Organizations Theologians and authors Feminist:
Letha Dawson Scanzoni · Anne Eggebroten · Virginia Ramey Mollenkott
William J. Webb · Kenneth E. Hagin · Gordon Fee · Frank Stagg · Paul Jewett · Stanley Grenz · Roger Nicole
Don Carson · John Frame · Wayne Grudem · Douglas Moo · Paige Patterson · Vern Poythress
Doug Phillips · R. C. Sproul, Jr. · Douglas Wilson
- 6th century BCE Mahapajapati Gotami, the aunt and foster mother of Buddha, was the first woman to receive Buddhist ordination. She lived in Nepal.
- 13th century The first female Zen master, as well as the first Zen abbess, was the Japanese abbess Mugai Nyodai (born 1223 - died 1298).
- 17th century: Asenath Barzani led and taught at a yeshiva in Iraq.
- Circa 1770: Mary Evans Thorne was appointed class leader by Joseph Pilmore in Philadelphia, probably the first woman in America to be so appointed.
- Late 18th century: John Wesley allowed women to preach within his Methodist movement.
- Early 19th century: A fundamental belief of the Society of Friends (Quakers) has always been the existence of an element of God's spirit in every human soul. Thus all persons are considered to have inherent and equal worth, independent of their gender, and this led to an acceptance of female ministers. In 1660, Margaret Fell (1614–1702) published a famous pamphlet to justify equal roles for men and women in the denomination, titled: "Women's Speaking Justified, Proved and Allowed of by the Scriptures, All Such as Speak by the Spirit and Power of the Lord Jesus And How Women Were the First That Preached the Tidings of the Resurrection of Jesus, and Were Sent by Christ's Own Command Before He Ascended to the Father (John 20:17)." In the United States, in contrast with almost every other organized denomination, the Society of Friends (Quakers) has allowed women to serve as ministers since the early 19th century. Furthermore, in England in the 17th century Elizabeth Hooton became the first female Quaker minister.
- 19th century: Women's mosques, called nusi, and female imams have existed since the 19th century in China and continue today.
- 19th century: Hannah Rachel Verbermacher, also known as the Maiden of Ludmir (Ludmirer Moyd), became the only female Rebbe in the history of the Hasidic movement; she lived in Ukraine and Israel.
- 1807: The Primitive Methodist Church in Britain first allowed female ministers.
- 1815: Clarissa Danforth was ordained in New England. She was the first woman ordained by the Free Will Baptist denomination.
- 1853: Antoinette Brown Blackwell was the first woman ordained by a church belonging to the Congregationalist Church. However, her ordination was not recognized by the denomination. She later quit the church and became a Unitarian. The Congregationalists later merged with others to create the United Church of Christ, which ordains women.
- 1861: Mary A. Will was the first woman ordained in the Wesleyan Methodist Connection by the Illinois Conference in the United States. The Wesleyan Methodist Connection eventually became the Wesleyan Church.
- 1863: Olympia Brown was ordained by the Universalist denomination in 1863, the first woman ordained by that denomination, in spite of a last-moment case of cold feet by her seminary which feared adverse publicity. After a decade and a half of service as a full-time minister, she became a part-time minister in order to devote more time to the fight for women's rights and universal suffrage. In 1961, the Universalists and Unitarians joined to form the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). The UUA became the first large denomination to have a majority of female ministers.
- 1865: The Salvation Army was founded, which in the English Methodist tradition always ordained both men and women. However, there were initially rules that prohibited a woman from marrying a man who had a lower rank.
- 1866: Helenor M. Davison was ordained as a deacon by the North Indiana Conference of the Methodist Protestant Church, probably making her the first ordained woman in the Methodist tradition.
- 1869: Margaret Newton Van Cott became the first woman in the Methodist Episcopal Church to receive a local preacher's license.
- 1869: Lydia Sexton (of the United Brethren Church) was appointed chaplain of the Kansas State Prison at the age of 70, the first woman in the United States to hold such a position.
- 1871: Celia Burleigh became the first female Unitarian minister.
- 1876: Anna Oliver was the first woman to receive a Bachelor of Divinity degree from an American seminary (Boston University School of Theology).
- 1879 The Church of Christ, Scientist was founded by a woman, Mary Baker Eddy.
- 1880: Anna Howard Shaw was the first woman ordained in the Methodist Protestant Church, an American church which later merged with other denominations to form the United Methodist Church.
- 1888: Fidelia Gillette may have been the first ordained woman in Canada. She served the Universalist congregation in Bloomfield, Ontario, during 1888 and 1889. She was presumably ordained in 1888 or earlier.[original research?]
- 1889: The Nolin Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church ordained Louisa Woosley as the first female minister of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, USA.
- 1889: Ella Niswonger was the first woman ordained in the American United Brethren Church, which later merged with other denominations to form the American United Methodist Church, which has ordained women with full clergy rights and conference membership since 1956.
- 1890: On September 14, 1890, Ray Frank gave the Rosh Hashana sermon for a community in Spokane, Washington, thus becoming the first woman to preach from a synagogue pulpit, although she was not a rabbi.
- 1892: Anna Hanscombe is believed to be the first woman ordained by the parent bodies which formed the Church of the Nazarene in 1919.
- 1894: Julia A. J. Foote was the first woman to be ordained as a deacon by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
- 1909: The Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee) began ordaining women in 1909.
- 1911: Ann Allebach was the first Mennonite woman to be ordained. This occurred at the First Mennonite Church of Philadelphia.
- 1914: The Assemblies of God was founded and ordained its first woman pastors in 1914.
- 1917: The Church of England appointed female "bishop's messengers" to preach, teach, and take missions in the absence of men.
- 1917: The Congregationalist Church (England and Wales) ordained their first woman, Constance Coltman (née Todd), at the King's Weigh House, London. Its successor is the United Reformed Church (a union of the Congregational Church in England and Wales and the Presbyterian Church of England in 1972). Since then two more denominations have joined the union: The Reformed Churches of Christ (1982) and the Congregational Church of Scotland (2000). All of these denominations ordained women at the time of Union and continue to do so. The first woman to be appointed General Secretary of the United Reformed Church was Roberta Rominger in 2008.
- 1920: The Methodist Episcopal Church granted women the right to become licensed as local preachers.
- 1920s: Some Baptist denominations started ordaining women.
- 1922: The Jewish Reform movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis stated that "...woman cannot justly be denied the privilege of ordination." However, the first woman in Reform Judaism to be ordained (Sally Priesand) was not ordained until 1972.
- 1922: The Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren granted women the right to be licensed into the ministry, but not to be ordained with the same status as men.
- 1924: The Methodist Episcopal Church granted women limited clergy rights as local elders or deacons, without conference membership.
- 1927: Gayatri Devi, born in India, became the first Indian woman ordained to teach Vedanta in the West.
- 1929: Izabela Wiłucka-Kowalska was the first woman to be ordained by the Old Catholic Mariavite Church in Poland.
- 1930: A predecessor church of the Presbyterian Church (USA) ordained its first female as an elder.
- 1935: Regina Jonas was ordained privately by a German rabbi and became the world's first female rabbi.
- 1936: Lydia Emelie Gruchy became the first female minister in the United Church of Canada. In 1953, Reverend Lydia Emelie Grouchy was the first Canadian woman to receive an honourary Doctor of Divinity
- 1944: Florence Li Tim Oi became the first woman to be ordained as an Anglican priest. She was born in Hong Kong, and was ordained in Guandong province in unoccupied China on January 25, 1944, on account of a severe shortage of priests due to World War II. When the war ended, she was forced to relinquish her priesthood, yet she was reinstated as a priest later in 1971 in Hong Kong. "When Hong Kong ordained two further women priests in 1971 (Joyce Bennett and Jane Hwang), Florence Li Tim-Oi was officially recognised as a priest by the diocese." She later moved to Toronto, Canada, and assisted as a priest there from 1983 onwards.
- 1947: The Lutheran Protestant Church started to ordain women as priests.
- 1947: The Czechoslovak Hussite Church started to ordain women.
- 1948: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark started to ordain women.
- 1949: The Old Catholic Church (in the U.S.) started to ordain women.
- 1951: From January 1951 until 1953, Paula Ackerman served as Temple Beth Israel’s spiritual leader, conducting services, preaching, teaching, and performing marriages, funerals, and conversions. In so doing, she achieved the distinction of becoming the first woman to assume religious leadership of a mainstream American Jewish congregation, although she was never ordained.
- 1952: Queen Elizabeth II becomes Supreme Governor of the Church of England.
- 1955: In 1955 Betty Robbins, born in Greece, became the world's first female cantor when she was appointed cantor of the Reform congregation of Temple Avodah in Oceanside, New York, in July.
- 1956: Maud K. Jensen was the first woman to receive full clergy rights and conference membership (in her case, in the Central Pennsylvania Conference) in the Methodist Church.
- 1956: The Presbyterian Church (USA) ordained its first female minister, Margaret Towner.
- 1957: In 1957 the Unity Synod of the Moravian Church declared of women's ordination "in principle such ordination is permissible" and that each province is at liberty to "take such steps as seem essential for the maintenance of the ministry of the Word and Sacraments;” however, while this was approved by the Unity Synod in 1957, the Northern Province of the Moravian Church did not approve women for ordination until 1970 at the Provincial Synod, and it was not until 1975 that the Rev. Mary Matz became the first female minister within the Moravian Church.
- 1958: Women ministers in the Church of the Brethren were given full ordination with the same status as men.
- 1959: The Reverend Gusta A. Robinette, a missionary, was ordained in the Sumatra (Indonesia) Conference soon after The Methodist Church granted full clergy rights to women in 1956. She was appointed District Superintendent of the Medan Chinese District in Indonesia becoming the first female district superintendent in the Methodist Church.
- 1960: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Sweden started ordaining women.
- 1964: Addie Davis became the first Southern Baptist woman to be ordained. However, the Southern Baptist Convention stopped ordaining women in 2000, although existing female pastors are allowed to continue their jobs.
- 1967: The Presbyterian Church in Canada started ordaining women.
- 1967: Margaret Henrichsen became the first American female district superintendent in the Methodist Church.
- 1970: The Northern Province of the Moravian Church approved women for ordination in 1970 at the Provincial Synod, but it was not until 1975 that the Rev. Mary Matz became the first female minister within the Moravian Church.
- 1970: In 1970 Ludmila Javorova attempted ordination as a Catholic priest in Czechoslovakia by a friend of her family, Bishop Felix Davidek (1921–88), himself clandestinely consecrated, due to the shortage of priests caused by communist persecution; however, an official Vatican statement in February 2000 declared the ordinations invalid while recognizing the severe circumstances under which they occurred.
- 1970: On November 22, 1970, Elizabeth Alvina Platz became the first woman ordained by the Lutheran Church in America, and as such was the first woman ordained by any Lutheran denomination in America. The first woman ordained by the American Lutheran Church, Barbara Andrews, was ordained in December 1970. On January 1, 1988 the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches merged to form the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which continues to ordain women.  (The first woman ordained by the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, Janith Otte, was ordained in 1977.)
- 1971: Joyce Bennett and Jane Hwang were the first regularly ordained priests in the Anglican Church in Hong Kong.
- 1972: Freda Smith became the first female minister to be ordained by the Metropolitan Community Church.
- 1972: Sally Priesand became the first female rabbi to be ordained in Reform Judaism, and also the first female rabbi in the world to be ordained by any theological seminary.
- 1974: The Methodist Church in the United Kingdom started to ordain women again (after a lapse of ordinations).
- 1974: Sandy Eisenberg Sasso became the first female rabbi to be ordained in Reconstructionist Judaism.
- 1975: Dorothea W. Harvey became the first woman to be ordained by the Swedenborgian Church.
- 1975: Barbara Ostfeld-Horowitz became the first female cantor in Reform Judaism.
- 1975: In 1975, the Rev. Mary Matz became the first female minister in the Moravian Church.
- 1975: Jackie Tabick, born in Dublin, became the first female rabbi ordained in England.
- 1976: The Anglican Church in Canada ordained six female priests.
- 1976: The Rev. Pamela McGee was the first female ordained to the Lutheran ministry in Canada.
- 1976: Venerable Karuna Dharma became the first fully ordained female member of the Buddhist monastic community in the U.S.
- 1977: The Anglican Church in New Zealand ordained five female priests.
- 1977: Pauli Murray became the first African American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest in 1977.
- 1977: The first woman ordained by the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches, Janith Otte, was ordained in 1977.
- 1977: On January 1, 1977, Jacqueline Means became the first woman ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church. 11 women were "irregularly" ordained to the priesthood in Philadelphia on July 29, 1974, before church laws were changed to permit women's ordination. They are often called the "Philadelphia 11". Church laws were changed on September 16, 1976.
- 1978: Bonnie Koppell became the first female rabbi to serve in the U.S. military.
- 1978: Mindy Jacobsen became the first blind woman to be ordained as a cantor in the history of Judaism.
- 1979: The Reformed Church in America started ordaining women as ministers. Women had been admitted to the offices of deacon and elder in 1972.
- 1979:: Beth Israel Congregation of Chester County became the first synagogue in the United States to hire a woman, Linda Joy Holtzman, as senior rabbi. 
- 1980: Marjorie Matthews, at the age of 64, was the first woman elected as a bishop in the United Methodist Church.
- 1981: Lynn Gottlieb became the first female rabbi to be ordained in the Jewish Renewal movement.
- 1981: Kinneret Shiryon, born in the United States, became the first female rabbi in Israel. 
- 1981: Ani Pema Chodron is an American woman who was ordained as a bhikkhuni (a fully ordained Buddhist nun) in a lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in 1981. Pema Chödrön was the first American woman to be ordained as a Buddhist nun in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.
- 1981: Karen Soria, born and ordained in the United States, became Australia's first female rabbi.
- 1982: Nyambura J. Njoroge became the first female ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church of East Africa.
- 1983: An Anglican woman was ordained in Kenya.
- 1983: Three Anglican women were ordained in Uganda.
- 1983: Elyse Goldstein, born in the United States and ordained in 1983, became the first female rabbi in Canada.
- 1984: The Community of Christ (known at the time as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) authorized the ordination of women. They are the second largest Latter Day Saint denomination.
- 1985: According to the New York Times for 1985-FEB-14: "After years of debate, the worldwide governing body of Conservative Judaism has decided to admit women as rabbis. The group, the Rabbinical Assembly, plans to announce its decision at a news conference...at the Jewish Theological Seminary...". In 1985 Amy Eilberg became the first female rabbi to be ordained in Conservative Judaism.
- 1985: The first women deacons were ordained by the Scottish Episcopal Church.
- 1985: Judy Harrow became the first member of CoG (Covenant of the Goddess, a Wiccan group) to be legally registered as clergy in New York City in 1985, after a five year effort requiring the assistance of the New York Civil Liberties Union.
- 1986: Rabbi Julie Schwartz became the first female Naval chaplain in the U.S. 
- 1987: Erica Lippitz and Marla Rosenfeld Barugel became the first female cantors in Conservative Judaism.
- 1987: Joy Levitt became the first female president of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association.
- 1988: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland started to ordain women.
- 1988: Virginia Nagel was ordained as the first Deaf female priest in the Episcopal Church. 
- 1988: Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo, an American woman formerly called Catharine Burroughs, became the first Western woman to be named a reincarnate lama.
- 1988: The Episcopal Church elected Barbara Harris as its first female bishop.
- 1989: Einat Ramon, ordained in New York, became the first female native-Israeli rabbi.
- 1990: Pauline Bebe became the first female rabbi in France, although she was ordained in England.
- 1990: Penny Jamieson became the first female Anglican diocesan bishop in the world. She was ordained a bishop of the Anglican Church in New Zealand in June 1990.
- 1990: Anglican women were ordained in Ireland.
- 1992: Naamah Kelman, born in the United States, became the first female rabbi ordained in Israel.
- 1992: In March 1992 the first female priests in Australia were appointed; they were priests of the Anglican Church in Australia.
- 1992: Maria Jepsen became the world's first woman to be elected a Lutheran bishop when she was elected bishop of the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church in Germany, but she resigned in 2010 after allegations that she failed to properly investigate cases of sexual abuse.
- 1992: In November 1992 the General Synod of the Church of England approved the ordination of women as priests.
- 1992: The Anglican Church of South Africa started to ordain women.
- 1992: Rabbi Karen Soria became the first female rabbi to serve in the U.S. Marines, which she did from 1992 until 1996.  
- 1993: Rebecca Dubowe became the first Deaf woman to be ordained as a rabbi in the United States.
- 1993: Valerie Stessin became the first female Conservative rabbi to be ordained in Israel.
- 1993: Chana Timoner became the first female rabbi to hold an active duty assignment as a chaplain in the U.S. Army.
- 1993: Victoria Matthews was elected as the first female bishop of the Anglican Church of Canada; however she resigned in 2007, stating that “God is now calling me in a different direction”. In 2008, she was ordained as Bishop of Christchurch, becoming the first woman to hold that position.
- 1993: Maya Leibovich became the first native-born female rabbi in Israel.
- 1994: The first women priests were ordained by the Scottish Episcopal Church.
- 1994: Rabbi Laura Geller became the first woman to lead a major metropolitan congregation, specifically Temple Emanuel in Beverly Hills.
- 1994: Indrani Rampersad was ordained as the first female Hindu priest in Trinidad.
- 1994: On March 12, 1994, the Church of England ordained 32 women as its first female priests.
- 1994: Amina Wadud, born in the United States, became the first woman in South Africa to deliver the jum'ah khutbah, at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town.
- 1995: The Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Takoma Park, Maryland, ordained three women in violation of the denomination's rules - Kendra Haloviak, Norma Osborn, and Penny Shell.
- 1995: The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Denmark ordained its first female bishop.
- 1995: Bea Wyler, born in Switzerland, became the second female rabbi in Germany (the first being Regina Jonas),and the first to officiate at a congregation.
- 1995: The Christian Reformed Church voted to allow women ministers, elders and evangelists. In 1998, the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Council (NAPARC) suspended the CRC's membership because of this decision.
- 1995: In May 1995, Bola Odeleke was ordained as the first female bishop in Africa. Specifically, she was ordained in Nigeria. 
- 1996: Subhana Barzagi Roshi became the Diamond Sangha's first female roshi (Zen teacher) when she received transmission on March 9th, 1996, in Australia. In the ceremony Subhanna also became the first female roshi in the lineage of Robert Aitken Roshi. 
- 1997: Rosalina Rabaria became the first female priest in the Philippine Independent Church. 
- 1997: Christina Odenberg became the first female bishop in the Church of Sweden.
- 1997: Chava Koster, born in the Netherlands and ordained in the United States, became the first female rabbi from the Netherlands.
- 1998: The General Assembly of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan) started to ordain women.
- 1998: The Guatemalan Presbyterian Synod started to ordain women.
- 1998: The Old Catholic Church in the Netherlands started to ordain women.
- 1998: On July 28, 1998, Ava Muhammad became the first female minister in the Nation of Islam, heading Muhammad's Mosque 15 in Atlanta, Ga., one of the largest mosques in the country. In addition to administering day-to-day affairs there she was named Southern Regional Minister, giving her jurisdiction over Nation of Islam mosque activity in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and parts of Tennessee.
- 1998: Some Orthodox Jewish congregations started to employ women as congregational interns, a job created for learned Orthodox Jewish women. Although these interns do not lead worship services, they perform some tasks usually reserved for rabbis, such as preaching, teaching, and consulting on Jewish legal matters. The first woman hired as a congregational intern was Julie Stern Joseph, hired in 1998 by the Lincoln Square Synagogue of the Upper West Side.
- 1998: Nelly Shulman, born in Russia and ordained in England, became the first female rabbi from Russia and the first female rabbi in Belarus, serving as the chief reform rabbi of Minsk, Belarus.
- 1998: Sherry Chayat, born in Brooklyn, became the first American woman to receive transmission in the Rinzai school of Buddhism.
- 1998: In 1998 Kay Ward became the first female bishop in the Moravian Church.
- 1998: After 900 years without such ordinations, Sri Lanka again began to ordain women as fully ordained Buddhist nuns, called bhikkhunis.
- 1999: The Independent Presbyterian Church of Brazil allowed the ordination of women as either clergy or elders.
- 1999: The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) became the first large denomination to have a majority of female ministers. In April 1999, female ministers outnumbered their male counterpart 431 to 422.
- 1999: Beth Lockard was ordained as the first Deaf pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
- 1999: The first female bishop of the Czechoslovak-Hussite church was elected to a 7-year term of office in April 1999.
- 1999: Tamara Kolton became the first rabbi of either sex (and therefore, because she was female, the first female rabbi) to be ordained in Humanistic Judaism.
- 1999: Katalin Kelemen, born in Hungary but ordained at Leo Baeck College in England, was inducted as the rabbi of the Sim Shalom Progressive Jewish Congregation in Budapest, Hungary, thus becoming the first female rabbi in Hungary.  
- 1999: Angela Warnick Buchdahl, born in Seoul, Korea, became the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a cantor in the world when she was ordained by HUC-JIR, an American seminary for Reform Judaism.
- 2000: The Baptist Union of Scotland voted to allow their individual churches to make local decisions as to whether to allow or prohibit the ordination of women.
- 2000: In July 2000 Vashti McKenzie was elected as the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.
- 2000: The Mombasa diocese of the Anglican Church in Kenya began to ordain women.
- 2000: The Church of Pakistan ordained its first female deacons. It is a united church which dates back to the 1970 local merger of Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutherans and other Protestant denominations.
- 2001: Angela Warnick Buchdahl, born in Seoul, Korea, became the first Asian-American person to be ordained as a rabbi in the world; she was ordained by HUC-JIR, an American seminary for Reform Judaism.
- 2001: Eveline Goodman-Thau became the first female rabbi in Austria; she was born in Austria but ordained in Jerusalem.
- 2001: Deborah Davis became the first cantor of either sex (and therefore, since she was female, the first female cantor) in Humanistic Judaism; however, Humanistic Judaism has since stopped graduating cantors.
- 2002: Sharon Hordes became the very first cantor in Reconstructionist Judaism. Therefore, since she was a woman, she became their first female cantor.
- 2002: Rabbi Pamela Frydman became the first female president of OHALAH (Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal)
- 2002: Avitall Gerstetter became the first female cantor in Jewish Renewal and the first female cantor in Germany.
- 2002: The Danube Seven (Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger, Adelinde Theresia Roitinger, Gisela Forster, Iris Muller, Ida Raming, Pia Brunner and Angela White), a group of seven women from Germany, Austria, and the United States, were ordained on a ship on the Danube on 29 June 2002 by Rómulo Antonio Braschi, an Independent Catholic bishop whose own episcopal ordination was considered 'valid but illicit' by the Roman Catholic Church. The women's ordinations were not, however, recognised as being valid by the Roman Catholic Church. As a consequence of this violation of canon law and their refusal to repent, the women were excommunicated in 2003. Since then several similar actions have been held by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a group in favor of women's ordination in Roman Catholicism; this was the first such action.
- 2002: Khenmo Drolma, an American woman, became the first Bhikkhuni (fully ordained Buddhist nun) in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, traveling to Taiwan to be ordained.
- 2002: A 55-year-old Buddhist nun, Varanggana Vanavichayen, became the first female monk to be ordained in Thailand. She was ordained by a Sri Lankan woman monk in the presence of a male Thai monk. Theravada scriptures, as interpreted in Thailand, require that for a woman to be ordained as a monk, the ceremony must be attended by both a male and female monk.
- 2003: Ayya Sudhamma became the first American-born woman to receive bhikkhuni ordination in Sri Lanka.
- 2003: Sarah Schechter became the first female rabbi in the U.S. Air Force.  
- 2003: Sandra Kochmann, born in Paraguay, became the first female rabbi in Brazil.
- 2003: Born in Canada and educated in England, Nancy Morris became Scotland's first female rabbi in 2003.
- 2003: Rabbi Janet Marder was named the first female president of the Reform Movement's Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) on March 26, 2003, making her the first woman to lead a major rabbinical organization and the first woman to lead any major Jewish co-ed religious organization in the United States.
- 2003: On February 28, 2003, Dhammananda Bhikkhuni, formerly known as Chatsumarn Kabilsingh, became the first Thai woman to receive full ordination as a Theravada nun. She was ordained in Sri Lanka.
- 2003: In the summer of 2003, two of the Danube Seven, Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger (from Austria) and Gisela Forster (from Germany), were ordained as bishops by several male bishops who are in good standing with the Vatican, and have remained anonymous. These ordinations were done in secret and are not recognised as valid by the Roman Catholic Church. At the death of the male bishops, their identities will be revealed. Since then several similar actions have been held by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a group in favor of women's ordination in Roman Catholicism; this was the first such action for female bishops.
- 2004: Khenmo Drolma, an American woman, became the first westerner of either sex to be installed as an abbot in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, being installed as the abbot of the Vajra Dakini Nunnery in Vermont (America's first Buddhist nunnery) in 2004.
- 2004: Barbara Aiello, born and ordained in the United States, became the first female rabbi in Italy.
- 2004: In Canada, Yasmin Shadeer led the night 'Isha prayer for a mixed-gender (men as well as women praying and hearing the sermon) congregation. This is the first recorded occasion in modern times where a woman led a congregation in prayer in a mosque.
- 2004: Genevieve Benay (from France), Michele Birch-Conery (from Canada), Astride Indrican (from Latvia), Victoria Rue (from the USA), Jane Via (from the USA), and Monika Wyss (from Switzerland) were ordained as deacons on a ship in the Danube. The women's ordinations were not, however, recognised as being valid by the Roman Catholic Church. As a consequence of this violation of canon law and their refusal to repent, the women were excommunicated. Since then several similar actions have been held by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, a group in favor of women's ordination in Roman Catholicism; this was the first such action for female deacons.
- 2005: The Lutheran Evangelical Protestant Church, (LEPC) (GCEPC) in the USA elected Nancy Kinard Drew as its first female Presiding Bishop.
- 2005: Annalu Waller, who had cerebral palsy, was ordained as the first disabled female priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church.
- 2005: Floriane Chinsky, born in Paris and ordained in Jerusalem, became Belgium's first female rabbi.
- 2005: Sivan Malkin Maas was ordained in Michigan; she was the first Israeli to be ordained as a rabbi in Humanistic Judaism.
- 2005: In April 2005, Raheel Raza, born in Pakistan, led Toronto's first woman-led mixed-gender Friday prayer service, delivering the sermon and leading the prayers of the mixed-gender congregation organized by the Muslim Canadian Congress to celebrate Earth Day in the backyard of the downtown Toronto home of activist Tarek Fatah.
- 2005: On July 1, 2005, Pamela Taylor, a Muslim convert since 1986, became the first woman to lead Friday prayers in a Canadian mosque, and did so for a congregation of both men and women. Pamela Taylor is an American convert to Islam and co-chair of the New York-based Progressive Muslim Union. In addition to leading the prayers, Taylor also gave a sermon on the importance of equality among people regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation and disability.
- 2005: Elisa Klapheck, born in Germany, became the first female rabbi in the Netherlands.
- 2005: On March 18, 2005, an American woman named Amina Wadud (an Islamic studies professor at Virginia Commonwealth University) gave a sermon and led Friday prayers for a Muslim congregation consisting of men as well as women, with no curtain dividing the men and women. Another woman, Suheyla El-Attar, sounded the call to prayer while not wearing a headscarf at that same event. This was done in the Synod House of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York after mosques refused to host the event. This was the first time a woman led a mixed-gender Muslim congregation in prayer in American history.
- 2006: Susan Wehle became the first American female cantor in Jewish Renewal in 2006; however, she died in 2009.
- 2006: The Episcopal Church elected Katharine Jefferts Schori as its first female Presiding Bishop, or Primate.
- 2006: Merle Kodo Boyd, born in Texas, became the first African-American woman ever to receive Dharma transmission in Zen Buddhism.
- 2006: For the first time in American history, a Buddhist ordination was held where an American woman (Sister Khanti-Khema) took the Samaneri (novice) vows with an American monk (Bhante Vimalaramsi) presiding. This was done for the Buddhist American Forest Tradition at the Dhamma Sukha Meditation Center in Missouri.
- 2006: The Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church ordained its first six female pastors. 
- 2006: Sharon Ballantyne was ordained as the first blind minister in the United Church of Canada. 
- 2007: The Worldwide Church of God, a denomination with about 860 congregations worldwide, decided to allow women to serve as pastors and elders. This decision was reached after several years of study. Debby Bailey became the first female elder in the Worldwide Church of God in 2007. 
- 2007: The current Dalai Lama stated that the next Dalai Lama could possibly be a woman, remarking "If a woman reveals herself as more useful the lama could very well be reincarnated in this form".
- 2007: Tanya Segal, born in Russia and ordained in Jerusalem, became the first full-time female rabbi in Poland.
- 2007: Nerva Cot Aguilera became Latin America's first female bishop, as the bishop of the Episcopal Church of Cuba.
- 2007: The synod of the Christian Reformed Church voted 112-70 to allow any Christian Reformed Church congregation that wishes to do so to ordain women as ministers, elders, deacons and/or ministry associates; since 1995, congregations and regional church bodies called "classes" already had the option of ordaining women, and 26 of the 47 classes had exercised it before the vote in June.
- 2007: Myokei Caine-Barrett, born and ordained in Japan, became the first female Nichiren priest in her affiliated Nichiren Order of North America.
- 2008: Mildred "Bonnie" Hines was elected as the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.
- 2008: The Rev. Joaquina Filipe Nhanala was elected to oversee the Mozambique area for the United Methodist Church, thus becoming the first female United Methodist bishop in Africa.
- 2008: Kay Goldsworthy became the first female bishop of the Anglican Church in Australia.
- 2008: On 17 October 2008, Amina Wadud, born in the United States, became the first woman to lead a mixed-gender congregation in prayer in the United Kingdom when she performed the Friday prayers at Oxford's Wolfson College.
- 2008: Rabbi Julie Schonfeld was named the new executive vice president of the Conservative movement's Rabbinical Assembly, becoming the first female rabbi to serve in the chief executive position of an American rabbinical association.
- 2009: The first Bhikkhuni ordination in Australia in the Theravada Buddhist tradition was performed in Perth, Australia, on 22 October 2009 at Bodhinyana Monastery. Abbess Vayama together with Venerables Nirodha, Seri, and Hasapanna were ordained as Bhikkhunis by a dual Sangha act of Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis in full accordance with the Pali Vinaya.
- 2009: The Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) elected Margot Käßmann as its first female Presiding Bishop, or Primate; she received 132 out of 142 votes. However, she chose to resign in 2010, after she was caught drink driving, although the Council of the EKD judged unanimously that it was not grounds for a resignation.
- 2009: Alysa Stanton, born in Cleveland and ordained by a Reform Jewish seminary in Cincinnati, became the world's first black female rabbi.
- 2009: Lynn Feinberg became the first female rabbi in Norway, where she was born.
- 2009: The Rev Jana Jeruma-Grinberga became Britain's first female bishop in a mainstream British church, the Lutheran Church in Great Britain.
- 2009: Tannoz Bahremand Foruzanfar, who was born in Iran, became the first Persian woman to be ordained as a cantor in the United States.
- 2009: Wu Chengzhen became the first female Fangzhang (meaning principal abbot) in Taoism's 1,800-year history after being enthroned at Changchun Temple in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, in China. Fangzhang is the highest position in a Taoist temple.
- 2010: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland elected Irja Askola of the Diocese of Helsinki as its first female bishop.
- 2010: Sara Hurwitz, an Orthodox Jewish woman born in South Africa, was given the title of “rabbah” (sometimes spelled “rabba”), the feminine form of rabbi. In early 2009, she had completed the same coursework and exams required of male rabbinic candidates. The idea of ordaining a woman rabbi is highly controversial in Orthodox Jewish communities, so the title “maharat” was created on her behalf. It was derived from the acronym for “manhiga”, “hilchatit”, “ruchanit” and “toranit”, loosely translating to mean a leader in religious law and spiritual matters. The term, however, did not catch on. As of 2010, Rabbah Sara Hurwitz serves as the Dean of Yeshivat Maharat and serves on the rabbinic staff of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale in New York.
- 2010: The first American women to be ordained as cantors in Jewish Renewal after Susan Wehle's ordination were Michal Rubin and Abbe Lyons, both ordained on January 10, 2010.
- 2010: The International Rabbinic Fellowship, a fellowship of about 150 Orthodox rabbis, adopted a resolution stating that properly trained Orthodox Jewish women should have the opportunity to serve as "teachers of Torah", "persons who can answer questions and provide guidance to both men and women in all areas of Jewish law in which they are well-versed", "clergy who function as pastoral counselors", "spiritual preachers and guides who teach classes and deliver divrei Torah and derashot, in the synagogue and out, both during the week and on Shabbatot and holidays", "spiritual guides and mentors helping arrange and managing life-cycle events such as weddings, bar- and bat-mitzvah celebrations and funerals, while refraining from engaging in those aspects of these events that Halakha does not allow for women to take part in" and "presidents and full members of the boards of synagogues and other Torah institutions"; the resolution does not, however, mention whether these women should or can be ordained or what titles they can hold.
- 2010: In 2010, at the Orthodox Jewish synagogue Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, Lamelle Ryman led a Friday-night service as a cantor would. No other Orthodox synagogue in the U.S. had ever before had a woman lead a Kabbalat Shabbat service, although Orthodox institutions like the Darkhei Noam prayer group in New York and the Shira Hadasha congregation in Jerusalem already did have women leading Kabbalat Shabbat. In addition, there had been a female-led Kabbalat Shabbat in a Washington Heights apartment in Manhattan — most of the worshippers came from the Yeshiva University community — in 1987 that drew little attention or opposition. In any case, Lamelle Ryan was not ordained as a cantor, and as of 2010 Orthodox Judaism does not ordain women as cantors. 
- 2010: Alina Treiger, born in Ukraine, became the first female rabbi to be ordained in Germany since World War II (the very first female rabbi ordained in Germany was Regina Jonas, ordained in 1935).
- 2010: Sandra Kviat became Denmark's first female rabbi; she was ordained in England.
- 2010: The first Buddhist nunnery in North America (Vajra Dakini Nunnery in Vermont), offering novice ordination in the Drikung Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, was officially consecrated.
- 2010: Raheel Raza, born in Pakistan, became the first Muslim-born woman to lead a mixed-gender British congregation through Friday prayers.
- 2010: Delegates of the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches unanimously voted in favor of a statement supporting the ordination of women as pastors, during their Sixth General Assembly. An English translation of the statement reads, "The Sixth General Assembly supports the ordination of the women in our churches in the position of ordained pastor and her partnership with men as an equal partner in decision making. Therefore we call on member churches to take leading steps in this concern."
- 2010: With the October 16, 2010, ordination of Margaret Lee, in the Peoria-based Diocese of Quincy, Illinois, women have been ordained as priests in all 110 dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the United States.
- 2011: Kirsten Eistrup, 55, became the first female priest in the Danish Seamen's Church in Singapore. She was also the Lutheran Protestant Church's first female pastor in Asia.
- 2011: Eva Marie Jansvik became the first female priest in the Norwegian Seamen's Church in Singapore.
- 2011: One third of the Catholic theology professors in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland (144 people) signed a declaration calling for women’s ordination and opposing "traditionalism" in the liturgy.
- 2011: Mary Whittaker became the first deaf person to be ordained into the Church of Scotland. 
- 2011: The Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf was allowed to ordain women as priests and appoint them to single charge chaplaincies. On June 5, 2011, Catherine Dawkins was ordained by the bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf, the Right Rev Michael Lewis, during a ceremony at St Christopher's Cathedral, Manama. This makes her the first female priest in the Middle East.
- 2011: Stella Bentsi-Enchil, Alberta Kennies Addo and Susanna C. Naana Ackun were ordained as the first female priests of the Anglican Church of Ghana.
- 2011: The Evangelical Presbyterian Church's 31st General Assembly voted to allow congregations to call women to ordained ministry, even if their presbytery (governing body) objects for theological or doctrinal reasons. Such congregations will be allowed to leave the objecting presbytery (such as the Central South, which includes Memphis) and join an adjacent one that permits the ordination of women. 
- 2011: The American Catholic Church in the United States, ACCUS, ordained their first woman priest, Kathleen Maria MacPherson, on June 12, 2011.
- Christian views of women
- Episcopa Theodora
- Feminist theology
- Great Mother
- List of the first 32 women ordained as Church of England priests
- List of women priests
- Mariavite Church
- Women as theological figures
- Women in the Bible
- ^ Sarah Dening (1996), The Mythology of Sex, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0-02-861207-2. Ch.3.
- ^ Women-philosophers.com
- ^ A History of Medicine, Volumes 1-2 By Plinio Prioreschi (pg. 376)
- ^ Jeremy Black (1998), Reading Sumerian Poetry, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-485-93003-X. pp 142. 
- ^ Blue Letter Bible
- ^ Blue Letter Bible, Lexicon results for qĕdeshah (Strong's H2181), incorporating Strong's Concordance (1890) and Gesenius's Lexicon (1857).
- ^ Also transliterated qĕdeshah, qedeshah, qědēšā ,qedashah, kadeshah, kadesha, qedesha, kdesha. A modern liturgical pronunciation would be k'deysha
- ^ Robyn A. Gillam, Priestesses of Hathor: Their Function, Decline and Disappearance, Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt, Vol. 32 (1995), pp. 211–237.
- ^ Plato, Timaeus 71e–72b and Phaedrus 244a–d, discussed by Gerald Hovenden, Speaking in Tongues: The New Testament Evidence in Context (Continuum International, 2002), pp. 22–23; Lester L. Grabbe, introduction and overview, Knowing the End from the Beginning: The Prophetic, the Apocalyptic and Their Relationships (Continuum International, 2003), p. 24.
- ^ For an extensive modern consideration of the Vestals, see Ariadne Staples, From Good Goddess to Vestal Virgins: Sex and Category in Roman Religion (Routledge, 1998).
- ^ A.H.M. Jones, The Later Roman Empire, 284–602: A Social Economic and Administrative Survey (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1964, 1986), vol. 1, p. 163.
- ^ Lawrence Richardson, A New Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992), p. 412 on the temple.
- ^ Celia E. Schultz, Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic (University of North Carolina Press, 2006), pp. 79–81.
- ^ This is true of the flaminate, and probably true of the rex and regina; Schultz, Women's Religious Activity, p. 81.
- ^ Lundeen, "In Search of the Etruscan Priestess," p. 46; Schultz, Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic, pp. 70–71.
- ^ Barbette Stanley Spaeth, The Roman Goddess Ceres (University of Texas Press, 2996), p. 104.
- ^ Spaeth, The Roman Goddess Ceres, pp. 4-5, 9, 20 (historical overview and Aventine priesthoods), 84 - 89 (functions of plebeian aediles), 104 - 106 (women as priestesses): citing among others Cicero, In Verres, 2.4.108; Valerius Maximus, 1.1.1; Plutarch, De Mulierum Virtutibus, 26.
- ^ Hendrik H.J. Brouwer, Bona Dea: The Sources and a Description of the Cult (Brill, 1989), pp. 371, 377. One title for a sacerdos of the Bona Dea was damiatrix, presumably from Damia, one of the names of Demeter and associated also with the Bona Dea.
- ^ Stephen L. Dyson, Rome: A Living Portrait of an Ancient City (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), p. 283.
- ^ Schultz, Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic, p. 70.
- ^ Jörg Rüpke, "Roman Religion – Religions of Rome," A Companion to Roman Religion (Blackwell, 2007), p. 4.
- ^ Jean MacIntosh Turfa, "Etruscan Religion at the Watershed: Before and After the Fourth Century BCE," in Religion in Republican Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 48.
- ^ Schultz, Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic, p. 71.
- ^ Lesley E. Lundeen, "In Search of the Etruscan Priestess: A Re-Examination of the hatrencu," in Religion in Republican Italy (Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 46; Schultz, Women's Religious Activity in the Roman Republic, pp. 70–71.
- ^ a b Chodron Pema Chödrön
- ^ a b "Ani Pema Chödrön". Gampoabbey.org. http://www.gampoabbey.org/ane_pema/. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Macmillan Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Volume One), page 352
- ^ Book of the Discipline, Pali Text Society, volume V, Chapter X
- ^ Encyclopedia of feminist theories. Books.google.com. 2003-12-18. ISBN 9780415308854. http://books.google.com/?id=EvDUSt-msIEC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=bhikkhuni+%22full+ordination+of+buddhist+nuns%22#v=onepage&q=bhikkhuni%20%22full%20ordination%20of%20buddhist%20nuns%22&f=false. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b c "The Outstanding Women in Buddhism Awards". Owbaw.org. http://www.owbaw.org/2006.asp. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "The Life of the Buddha: (Part Two) The Order of Nuns". Buddhanet.net. http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/buddhism/lifebuddha/2_23lbud.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Resources on Women's Ordination". Lhamo.tripod.com. http://lhamo.tripod.com/4ordin.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Bhikkhuni & Siladhara: Points of Comparison". Groups.google.com. http://groups.google.com/group/dhammadharini/web/bhikkhuni-and-siladhara-points-of-comparison-faqb. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b Bhikkhuni Sobhana. "Contemporary bhikkuni ordination in Sri Lanka". Lakehouse.lk. http://www.lakehouse.lk/mihintalava/sasana01.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Ordained At Last". Thebuddhadharma.com. 2003-02-28. http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2003/summer/dhammananda.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b Rita C. Larivee, SSA (2003-05-14). "Bhikkhunis: Ordaining Buddhist Women". Nationalcatholicreporter.org. http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/globalpers/gp051403.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ http://www.thaibuddhism.net/female_monk.htm
- ^ "Thai monks oppose West Australian ordination of Buddhist nuns". Wa.buddhistcouncil.org.au. http://www.wa.buddhistcouncil.org.au/home/therevadan-bhikkhunni-ordination-in-western-australia/. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b c "Article: First Female Rabbi in Belarus travels the Hinterlands: On the Road with Nelly Shulman". Highbeam.com. 2001-03-23. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P1-79270399.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Encyclopedia of women and religion in North America, Volume 2 By Rosemary Skinner Keller, Rosemary Radford Ruether, Marie Cantlon (pg. 642)
- ^ HarperSanFrancisco, 2006 320 pages; $24.95 (hardcover). "The Lost Lineage". Thebuddhadharma.com. http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2006/spring/women_of_the_way_review.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Zen master who?: a guide to the people and stories of Zen By James Ishmael Ford
- ^ http://www.dhammasukha.org/About/khema.htm
- ^ a b "Women Making History". Vajradakininunnery.org. http://www.vajradakininunnery.org/firstsforwomen.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Khenmo Drolma". Vajradakininunnery.org. http://www.vajradakininunnery.org/nyima.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b c "Vajra Dakini Nunnery". Vajra Dakini Nunnery. http://www.vajradakininunnery.org/. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "US Episcopal Church installs first female presiding bishop". Australia: Journeyonline.com.au. 2006-11-07. http://www.journeyonline.com.au/showArticle.php?categoryId=2&articleId=733. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Female ordination in the Episcopal Church, USA (ECUSA)". Religioustolerance.org. 1976-09-16. http://www.religioustolerance.org/femclrg14.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Women bishops in the Church of England? By Church of England. House of Bishops (pg. 279)
- ^ a b "Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori Presiding Bishop and Bishop of the Convocation of American Churches in Europe". Andromeda.rutgers.edu. http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~lcrew/bishops/0388.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Ordination of Women in the Anglican Church of Canada (Deacons, Priests and Bishops)". Anglican.ca. http://www.anglican.ca/search/faq/039.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Davies, Matthew (2008-04-11). "Australia appoints first woman bishop". Episcopalchurch.org. http://www.episcopalchurch.org/79901_96404_ENG_HTM.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Women bishops at The Irish Times
- ^ Scottish priest fails in bid to become first woman bishop at The Daily Telegraph
- ^ "Church of England inches closer to women bishops". Catholicculture.org. http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=6268. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ No to women bishops says Church in Wales at The Sunday Times
- ^ a b Last Episcopal Holdout Ordains Female Priest
- ^ "Women—May They Be “Ministers”?", The Watchtower, March 15, 1981, page 19, "Several courts in the United States have recognized female Jehovah’s Witnesses, in carrying on the door-to-door evangelistic work, as ministers. For example, the Supreme Court of Vermont, in Vermont v. Greaves (1941), stated that Elva Greaves “is an ordained minister of a sect or class known and designated as ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses’.”"
- ^ "Letting All Men See Jehovah’s Victory Processions", The Watchtower, July 1, 1968, page 413
- ^ "Happy Full-Time Servants", Our Kingdom Ministry, May 1980, page 6
- ^ "Applying the General Priesthood Principle", The Watchtower, February 1, 1964, page 86, "Among the witnesses of Jehovah any adult, dedicated and baptized male Christian who is qualified may serve in such ministerial capacities as giving public Bible discourses and funeral talks, performing marriages and presiding at the Lord’s evening meal or supper. There is no clergy class."
- ^ "Head Coverings—When and Why?", Keep Yourselves in God's Love, ©2008 Watch Tower, page 210-211, "Occasionally, though, circumstances may require that a Christian woman be called on to handle a duty normally performed by a qualified baptized male. For instance, she may need to conduct a meeting for field service because a qualified baptized male is not available or present. ..she would wear a head covering to acknowledge that she is handling the duty normally assigned to a male. On the other hand, many aspects of worship do not call for a sister to wear a head covering. For example, she does not need to do so when commenting at Christian meetings, engaging in the door-to-door ministry with her husband or another baptized male, or studying or praying with her unbaptized children."
- ^ "Questions From Readers", The Watchtower, July 15, 2002, page 27, "There may be other occasions when no baptized males are present at a congregation meeting. If a sister has to handle duties usually performed by a brother at a congregationally arranged meeting or meeting for field service, she should wear a head covering."
- ^ "Woman’s Regard for Headship—How Demonstrated?", The Watchtower, July 15, 1972, page 447, "At times no baptized male Witnesses may be present at a congregational meeting (usually in small congregations or groups). This would make it necessary for a baptized female Witness to pray or preside at the meeting. Recognizing that she is doing something that would usually be handled by a man, she would wear a head covering."
- ^ "Why can't women be ordained to the LDS Priesthood?". Lightplanet.com. http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/response/qa/women_priesthood.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Mormon Women Have Had the Priesthood Since 1843". Signaturebookslibrary.org. http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/women/chapter17.htm#Woman. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Put on Your Strength O Daughters of Zion: Claiming Priesthood and Knowing the Mother". Signaturebookslibrary.org. http://www.signaturebookslibrary.org/women/chapter18.htm#Zion. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Ordination of women In Eastern Orthodoxy, mainline & liberal Protestant denominations, & other religions". Religioustolerance.org. http://www.religioustolerance.org/femclrg19.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Orthodox Women and Pastoral Praxis | The St. Nina Quarterly[dead link]
- ^ "Man, Woman and the Priesthood of Christ," in Women and the Priesthood, ed. T. Hopko (New York, 1982, reprinted 1999), 16, as quoted in Women Deacons in the Early Church, by John Wijngaards, ISBN 0–8245–2393–8.
- ^ Phyllis Zagano (2004-10-08). "America | The National Catholic Weekly-‘Grant Her Your Spirit’". Americamagazine.org. http://www.americamagazine.org/gettext.cfm?articleTypeID=1&textID=3997&issueID=517. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Toward a Complete Expression of the Diaconate: Discerning the Ministry Women Deacons" (PDF). http://www.orthodoxwomen.org/files/SCOBA_Women_Deacons.pdf. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Hagopian, David. "Trading Places: The Priesthood of All Believers." Web: 10 Jul 2010.
- ^ "Historical Timeline: The United Church of Canada". United-church.ca. 2008-01-17. http://www.united-church.ca/history/overview/frenchministries/timeline#1900. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Maud Jensen, 1904-1998". Gcah.org. http://www.gcah.org/site/apps/nlnet/content3.aspx?c=ghKJI0PHIoE&b=3637671&ct=4506093. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "The question of the ordination of women in the community of churches". Anglican Theological Review, Viser, Jan. Summer 2002. Accessed: 09-18-2007
- ^ William Collier, The General Next to God (Fount, 1975)
- ^ Woman tapped as new Salvation Army leader
- ^ Sociology by Beth B. Hess, Elizabeth Warren Markson, Peter J. Stein
- ^ The Bible in history: how the texts have shaped the times By David William Kling (pg. 272)
- ^ "Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals". Wheaton.edu. 2010-06-29. http://www.wheaton.edu/isae/Women/womensreview98.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Female leadership in the Christian Scriptures". Religioustolerance.org. http://www.religioustolerance.org/ord_bibl1.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Apostolic Letter ORDINATIO SACERDOTALIS". Vatican.va. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_letters/documents/hf_jp-ii_apl_22051994_ordinatio-sacerdotalis_en.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Code of Canon Law". Vatican.va. http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P3P.HTM. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Codex Iruis Canonici canon 1024, c.f. Catechism of the Catholic Church 1577
- ^ "The Catholic Church has never felt that priestly or episcopal ordination can be validly conferred on women", Inter Insigniores, October 15, 1976, section 1
- ^ http://www.ewtn.com/library/curia/cdfinsig.htm
- ^ [Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Response to a Dubium concerning the teaching contained in the Apostolic Letter 'Ordinatio Sacerdotalis'": AAS 87 (1995), 1114.] In English: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951028_dubium-ordinatio-sac_en.html In Latin: http://www.vatican.va/archive/aas/documents/AAS%2087%20%5B1995%5D%20-%20ocr.pdf
- ^ "GENERAL DECREE regarding the delict of attempted sacred ordination of a woman". Vatican.va. 2007-12-19. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20071219_attentata-ord-donna_en.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "Substantive Norms". Vatican.va. http://www.vatican.va/resources/resources_norme_en.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Out of the Depths: The Story of Ludmila Javorova, Ordained Roman Catholic Priest". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Out-Depths-Javorova-Ordained-Catholic/dp/0824518896. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
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- ^ Woman says she was called to become a Catholic priest
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- ^ http://www.eckankar.org/FAQ/#women
- ^ Pallavi, Aparna (2008-02-26). "Indian City Opens Doorway to Female Hindu Priests". Womensenews.org. http://www.womensenews.org/story/080226/indian-city-opens-doorway-female-hindu-priests. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Mathai, Kamini (2008-10-18). "Masti, mehendi mark Karva Chauth in city". Findarticles.com. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_8012/is_20081018/ai_n39508201/. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ "The Graceful Guru: Hindu Female Gurus in India and the United States". Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/Graceful-Guru-Female-United-States/dp/0195145380. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/news/Chanda-Britain-s-female-Hindu-priest/article-2430682-detail/article.html
- ^ Encyclopedia of African religion, Volume 1 By Molefi Kete Asante, Ama Mazama (pg. 335)
- ^ Shamanism: an encyclopedia of world beliefs, practices, and culture, Volume 2 edited by Mariko Namba Walter, Eva Jane Neumann Fridman (pg. 451)
- ^ Susan Sered (1999). Women of the Sacred Groves: Divine Priestesses of Okinawa. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195124863.
- ^ a b Women imams of China at guardian.co.uk
- ^ a b c Rajan, Amol (2008-10-17). "First woman to lead Muslim prayers angers traditionalists". London: Independent.co.uk. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/first-woman-to-lead-muslim-prayers-angers-traditionalists-964308.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
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- ^ a b c d e f g h Woman Leads Muslim Prayer Service in New York
- ^ a b "Woman leads mixed-gender prayers for city Muslims" (PDF). http://www.muslimcanadiancongress.org/20050423.pdf. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b c d e f "The Woman-Led Prayer that Catalyzed Controversy". Pluralism.org. http://pluralism.org/reports/view/111. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ Amina Wadud Leads Mixed Gender Friday Prayer in Barcelona
- ^ Source: 12/02/2008 4:30 pm. "Woman-led prayer honours IWD". Awid.org. http://www.awid.org/eng/Issues-and-Analysis/Library/Woman-led-prayer-honours-IWD. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ It's Muslim men we must modernise at guardian.co.uk
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- ^ a b "Lynn Gottlieb". Jwa.org. 2003-09-11. http://jwa.org/feminism/_html/JWA030.htm. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
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- ^ a b "Contributions of Jewish Women to Music and Women to Jewish Music". Jmwc.org. http://www.jmwc.org/Women/womend.html. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ a b "Cantor Sharon Hordes". Kenesethisrael.com. http://www.kenesethisrael.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=29&Itemid=43. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
- ^ ‘It’s Not Even Six Degrees of Separation. It’s One.’
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