This week two Associations of the Baptist Union announced new Regional Ministers. In both Associations women Regional Ministers have been replaced with men. (Regional ministers are those who exercise ministerial oversight over a group of churches within an Association. Typically Baptists have recognise the need for translocal ministry, but have done little theological reflection and/or articulation of what this ministry is*.) There are 13 Associations.
In 2010 there were 8 women Regional Ministers, of which 2 were "Team Leaders" (there were 26 male regional ministers). Four years later there are now 5 women Regional Ministers, of which 1 is a "Team Leader" (and 27 male regional ministers). From 23% of Regional Ministers being women in 2010, it's dropped to 15%. During 2010-2014, there have been 10 new Regional Ministers of which only 2 have been women. In 2010 7 of the Associations had women Regional Ministers, in 2014 there are now only 4 Associations with women Regional Ministers.
I am making no comment of the suitability or capability of those men who have become Regional Ministers. I know several of them, and they are excellent ministers. I am wondering why it hasn't been possible to appoint more women into these roles. Is it because they have decided not to apply? Is it because they have applied, but not been chosen? Is it a failure of Associations to positively seek women in these roles? Does this reflect that the Union's commitment to women in ministry (and leadership) is not a key priority/concern within Associations? Is it because the job descriptions for Regional Ministry are "male-orientated"?
* See Stuart Murray (ed.), Translocal Ministry (Baptist Union, 2004) for one attempt to offer a basis for translocal ministry amongst Baptists.