Ordaining women: The diffusion of an organizational innovation


Journal Article

Why do denominations vary in the extent to which they resist ordaining women? Extensive loose coupling between formal policy and actual practice concerning female access to positions within religious organizations highlights the symbolic importance of rules about women's ordination. This paper focuses on these rules via an event-history analysis of U.S. Christian denominations' official adoption of women's ordination. The likelihood of a denomination beginning to ordain women is influenced by external political and institutional pressures, by cultural boundaries and network connections within the denominational population, and by internal organizational characteristics. But I may go farther, and maintain that the course of history, and the tendencies of progressive human society, afford not only no presumption in favor of this system of inequality of rights [between women and men], but a strong one against it; and that, so far as the whole course of human improvement up to this time, the whole stream of modern tendencies, warrants any inference on the subject, it is, that this relic of the past is discordant with the future, and must necessarily disappear.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Chaves, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 1996

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 101 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 840 - 873

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9602

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/230782

Citation Source

  • Scopus