Call for Paper: Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling

A call for a special issue: Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women as Religious Leaders. The issue will be guest edited by Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Ed.D, and E. Ann Christo-Baker, Ed.D.

Deadline: May 1, 2011.
Submit your paper directly to Dr. Ngunjiri at fngunjir at eastern.edu and Dr. Christo-Baker at ehchrist at pnc.edu


Breaking the Stained Glass Ceiling: Women as Religious Leaders

There continues to be a dearth of scholarly published material about African women in leadership. Fortunately, JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies has made a concerted effort to highlight women’s leadership roles in African societies through the publication of two special issues on women as political leaders (Issue 9, 2006 and Issue 10, 2007). This special issue will focus on women as religious leaders. We are hoping for both historical and contemporary views of African and African descended women serving as religious leaders. For example, John S Mbiti, the pre-eminent African philosopher noted that women served as leaders within African Traditional Religion (Mbiti, 1988). Similarly, there are women serving within both mainline and African instituted churches in African countries. However, women do continue to be underrepresented in the highest levels of religious leadership, in a phenomenon named the ‘stained glass ceiling’ not only in Africa but other countries around the world (Adams, 2007; Sullins, 2000). The special issue will focus on women breaking that stained glass ceiling, in terms of the strategies they use to survive and thrive as leaders in religious institutions – churches, religious schools and religious organizations. Papers are invited which are focused but not limited the following sub topics:

  • Historical portraits of women as religious leaders in ATR
  • Contemporary portraits of women religious leaders
  • Conceptual papers historicizing women’s leaders
  • Papers explicating theories useful in interrogating women’s leadership experiences in religious contexts
  •  Country and/or denomination specific accounts of women’s religious leader-ship
  • Women’s spiritual leadership outside of religious organizations

The papers will be blind peer reviewed by at least two reviewers so do not include identifying information in the body of your paper. Papers must be submitted by May 1, 2011.

Adams, J. (2007). “Stained Glass Makes the Ceiling Visible: Organizational Opposition to Women in Congregational Leadership.” Gender & Society, 21 (1), 80-105. doi: 10.1177/0891243206293773

Mbiti, J. S. (1988). “The Role of Women in African Traditional Religion.” Retrieved March 23, 2004, from http://afrikaworld.net/afrel/atr-women.htm

Sullins, P. (2000). “The Stained Glass Ceiling: Career Attainment for Women Clergy. Sociology of Religion, 61 (3), 23.

Faith Wambura Ngunjiri, Ed.D
Assistant Professor, Organizational Leadership
Eastern University 1300 Eagle Road, St Davids, PA 19087

Elizabeth Ann Christo-Baker, Ed.D
Assistant Professor, Organizational Behavior & Leadership
Purdue University North Central
1401 S US 421, Westville, IN 46391


JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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