More women take the mic but still outnumbered

10 March 2017

GREENBELT

One of many: the pastor and author Nadia Bolz-Weber, at Greenbelt last year, She will appear at the Hymns A&M Festival of Preaching in September

One of many: the pastor and author Nadia Bolz-Weber, at Greenbelt last year, She will appear at the Hymns A&M Festival of Preaching in September

CHRISTIAN conferences and festi­vals had ten per cent more women speakers last year than in 2014, but the majority of those on the plat­form were still men, new data sug­gests.

Research by the Christian data­base Project 3:28, founded in 2013 by Natalie Collins, a blogger and activist, has found that 26 per cent of speakers at 22 of the largest Christian conferences and festivals in the UK in 2014 were women; this figure rose to 36 per cent last year (323 of 562 speakers).

Nine per cent of this increase was re­­corded in 2015, and no change was recorded over the next year.

Of the 17 events to have provided data from last year, nine had a higher proportion of women on stage than in 2015.

None of the events surveyed in 2016 had a majority of women speakers. But a new event, the Pursuit, and another, Ichthus Re­­vive, were evenly balanced. Of the 34 speakers at Premier Digital, 16 were women (47 per cent). This was followed by New Wine (43 per cent), Greenbelt (42 per cent), and the Baptist Assembly (also 42 per cent).

The Church and Media Con­ference showed the biggest drop in female speakers last year, down to 33 per cent from a first-time maj­ority of 53 per cent in 2015. It was noted, however, that the 2016 con­ference was a 40th anniversary of the event, and most of the speakers had been involved in the organisa­tion from its founda­tion, most of whom were male. Soul Survivor had 13 women speakers out of 39 last year — down by 12 per cent from 2015.

Mrs Collins began her survey in 2013. The figures were reached by trawling through conference web­sites and recordings, and speaking to some of the events’ organisers.

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