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Caroline Gatrell and Nigel Peyton

This chapter considers the position of women employed as religious leaders in the Church of England. A Christian institution with an historic gender bar, it finally ordained women as priests in 1994 and admitted women into the senior office of bishop in 2014. The gradual advance of women into ordination and a growing range of leadership roles in the life of the Church of England at the turn of the millennium are described, drawing on the authors’ ongoing research into contemporary clergy life experiences. As Church office holders, clergy remain outside UK equality and employment legislation. Minority traditionalist opposition to women clergy persists and the breakthrough of women into a previously all-male professional space has been achieved at a personal cost. There is a way yet to go in cultivating and achieving gender parity in the leadership of the English national Church, itself challenged by secularism and cultural diversity.