CHRISTIAN conferences and festivals are continuing to field more women speakers than in previous years. Equal representation of men and women on the platform is still some way off, however.
Research by the Christian database Project 3:28, founded in 2013 by Natalie Collins, a blogger and activist, shows that 39 per cent of speakers at 25 of the largest Christian conferences and festivals in the UK last year were women (521 of 1352).
This represented a three-per-cent increase from 2016 (News, 17 March 2017).
None of the events surveyed in 2017 had a majority of women speakers, but the Church and Media Conference was the first to achieve equal representation: ten male speakers and ten female speakers were invited. This represented a 17-per-cent increase from its 40th-anniversary event in 2016, at which most of the speakers had been involved in the organisation from its foundation, and most of whom were male.
The National Youth Ministry Weekend was close behind on balance — 49 per cent of its 45 speakers were women — followed by New Wine (46 per cent). New Wine also had the largest number of speakers surveyed, however, and therefore the most women speakers overall (126 of 275).
This was followed by Greenbelt (51 of 113 speakers: 45 per cent) and Naturally Supernatural (eight of 18 speakers: 44 per cent).
The Keswick Conference 2017, and Ichthus Revive (a new event in 2016) had the highest proportions of male speakers: 91 per cent and 83 per cent respectively. This was closely followed by Word Alive, at which ten of its 46 speakers were women.
Mrs Collins began her survey in 2013. The figures were reached by searching through conference websites and recordings, and approaching organisers directly.