The final hurdle to women becoming bishops is set to be removed when leaders of Church of England voted on Monday, revoking gender restrictions on top jobs.
A show of hands among Anglicans meeting in London is expected to clear the way for the first appointment in January.
However, the vote to allow women to serve in the Church’s highest posts came 20 years after the first female priests were ordained.
The legislation approving the change was passed unanimously in July and Monday’s vote rubber-stamped that change in the rules.
It brought England into line with other Anglican Churches around the world, as there were women bishops in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the U.S..
Hilary Cotton, the Head of lobby group Women and the Church (Watch), said she would like to see women in a third of bishop’s posts.
She said “women make up around a third of the clergy in the Church of England.
“It is not just about having women wearing purple, it is about changing the culture of the Church to be more equal.’’
Women becoming bishops had caused problems in the Anglican Church in recent years, along with the issue of gay marriage.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who is the Head of the Anglican Church, said of the July vote that it had started a “great adventure of seeking mutual flourishing while still, in some cases, disagreeing.’’
Reform, a conservative lobby group within the Anglican Church, said a quarter of the 80 million Anglicans would be unhappy “if the divine order of male headship’’ swept aside the Monday vote.
Reform Director, Susie Leafe, said “it is a shame that in moving forward on this, the needs of the whole Church of England have not been fully recognised.’’
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