Pharos Journal of Theology (Dec 2020)

Marginalisation and Exclusion of Women from the Church Governance Structures: Experience in Black South African Churches

  • Dr Zandisile M. Dweba – PhD Candidate,
  • Mr Nkosinati M. Mbali – PhD Candidate,
  • Prof Reuben Z. Rashe

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 101


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The marginalisation and, in extreme cases, the exclusion of women from the church governance structures, it has been observed, may be attributed to many stereotypes - perceptive, traditional, religious, to mention but a few. In the literature reviewed in this study, numerous studies support this assertion about the marginalisation of women from church leadership. Of the numerous attributable factors, revealed in the literature, are the biblical, traditional and other androcentric stereotypes. Scholars note that, the obstacles that retard women’s development within the church structures, are almost, always attributable to gender than any other reason. Indeed, entrenched gender inequality has been cited as the main factor contributing to their marginalisation and ultimately their exclusion. This has not only barred them from advancing in the church’s leadership hierarchy, but prevented them from exercising their spiritual gifts. Notwithstanding the richness of African church history, scholars lament, there still exists an opportunity and need for the contribution of women within mission churches, which has been left out. In this article, the authors are of the view that, male supremacy must be confronted head on, if patriarchy is to be mitigated - not only within church structures, but across all social formations.