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Gender and Mainline Protestant Pastors’ Allocation of Time to Work Tasks

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Some scholars argue that male and female members of the Protestant clergy have differing ministerial styles. They argue that women are more person-oriented and interested in direct interaction with their parishioners and that men are more focused on job status and interested in administration. Using data on 1,688 clergy in eight mainline denominations, this research note compares the proportion of time that male and female pastors spend on 10 work tasks. Women devote less time than men to staff administration and supervision, a difference that is empirically attributable to their underrepresentation as senior pastors. The expectation of differing ministerial styles is most strongly supported in women’s greater allocation of time to pastoral counseling—a “personalized,” one-on-one ministry. However, they also spend proportionately less time than men on home and hospital visitation. This seemingly anomalous difference can be explained empirically as a factor of differential childcare responsibilities, which appear to limit women’s but not men’s movement away from home and church.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, Georgetown University, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2002


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