What roles do women play in contemporary Christian practice?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The role of women in contemporary Christianity varies, depending upon the specific denomination being considered. The variations are largely the result of differing interpretations of how practices based on the scriptures of the New Testament should be carried out in today's society.

Some denominations base their interpretations of acceptable roles for women in the church very literally upon the practices of the early church. Since those churches reflected the patriarchal society in which they developed, leadership positions in these denominations are restricted to men. Women may or may not be permitted to serve in specific positions such as church school teachers or on church committees providing care to members of the congregation. In the Roman Catholic Church, only men may serve as priests or in higher levels of the church hierarchy, for example.

In other denominations, women are fully integrated into the hierarchy of leadership and authority at all levels. Women in these churches may serve in any role, as may men. Protestant denominations vary - some ordain women as preachers, others do not.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial