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.