Date of Award

5-1-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

School

School of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

D.A.H.

Department

African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Josephine Bradley

Second Advisor

Dr. Karamo B.S. Barrow

Third Advisor

Dr. Love Henry Whelchel, Jr.

Abstract

This study analyzed sexism as it was perceived by clergywomen within the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, and the United Methodist Church. Specifically, this research analyzed the impact of sexism on thirty African-American women ministers in Methodism between 1980-2000. This study was conducted using a case study analysis, which allowed the researcher to detect seven factors which impact the lives of women ministers in terms of: 1 (1) Women and/or men's opposition to female leadership in the Church, (2) Sociopolitical- theological systems, (3) Perception of inferiority, (4) Interpretation of scripture, (5) Slow ordination process or denial, (6) The appointment process and/or appointment to smaller churches, and (7) Lower clergy salaries. The conclusion drawn from these findings suggests that the social implications influencing sexism in the Church is primarily laced in traditionalism. The significance of this study advances the knowledge of sexism in the Church, and how sexism impacts the lives of women in the workplace in general, and African- American women ministers in particular. This study also advances the knowledge pertaining to clergywomen's perception of religious sexism and leadership in the Church. Therefore, it is a contribution to religious studies, African-American studies, humanities, church leaders as well as womanist studies. In addition, this study enriches one's understanding of gender relations in terms of how the roles assigned to men and women structure society and shape their personal interactions within the Church, and within the African-American community. However, this investigation is an opportunity for African- American women ministers to voice their perceptions of their roles within the Church. These interviews provided useful indications of African-American women's perceptions, progressions, and/or stagnations within Methodism.

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