Increasing proportion – but still underrepresented

Increasing proportion - but still underrepresented

Women's quota in the Catholic Church © Oliver Berg

The Catholic Church in Germany wants to significantly increase the proportion of women in leadership positions. The Catholic News Agency lists important dates.

In diocesan administrations, the proportion of women in the top ranks had already risen in the past five years, according to a study presented Tuesday at the spring plenary session of the bishops' conference in Lingen, Germany. However, women are still strongly underrepresented.

A: Upper management level

At the senior leadership level of the 27 dioceses, the percentage of women and lay men increased between 2013 and 2018, while the percentage of clergy decreased significantly. A total of 213 positions were named for this level, employing 207 people. Of them, 39 are women (18.84 percent) and 87 are male laymen (42.03 percent). At the same time, 81 clerics worked at this level (39.13 percent). In 2013, the percentage of women was 12.73 percent, the percentage of lay men was 37.73 percent and the percentage of clergy was 49.55 percent.

At the time of the survey, there was one ordinariate/general vicariate with five women at the upper management level, in one ordinariate/general vicariate there are four women working there, in three ordinariates/general vicariates there are three, in five ordinariates/general vicariates there are two, and in eleven there is one woman working there in each case. In six diocese administrations no woman was on upper management level. In 2013, there were at most three women in a diocesan administration at the top management level. At that time, nine ordinariates/general vicariates had no women at the top management level.

According to the study, male laymen are often responsible for finance/construction, media/press and personnel/administration. Clerics are active in the areas of pastoral personnel as well as central offices. The pastoral sector is most often headed by clerics and by women. In addition, a relatively large number of women hold senior positions in the legal field. In the areas of school/university and Caritas, both women and male laymen and clerics were found in leading positions.

A total of 69 senior leadership positions have been filled since 2013. Among these, 17 positions or 24.64 percent of all new appointments were given to women, a significant increase from earlier times.

B: Middle management

The study assigns 594 positions to the middle management level, which were filled by 570 people. This includes 132 women working in 137 positions. This means that 23.16 percent of all persons at the middle management level are women. In 2013, it was 19.19 percent.

At the same time, 358 lay males held such positions. This means that 62.81 percent are. In 2013, the figure was 70.14 percent. The number of clerics in this area amounted to 70, or 12.28 percent of all job holders. In 2013 it was 10.66 percent.

At most, 18 women hold middle management positions in ordinariates/general vicariates. At the time of the survey in 2018, there was no ordinariate/general vicariate in which no woman held a leadership position at the middle level. But that was also the case in 2013.

According to the study, women are still underrepresented at this level. At the same time, however, there has been an increase from around 19 percent to a good 23 percent of all persons. The percentage of lay males at the middle management level has decreased, but remains at a high level. With the clergy the portion rose minimally.

The main areas of responsibility of women, male laypersons and clerics remained the same compared to 2013. Similar to the upper management level, the large number of laymen/men in the areas of finance and construction is striking. Clerics are mainly in charge of pastoral work and pastoral personnel, women mainly in the areas of school and education as well as pastoral work.

On the positive side, the study notes that since 2013, at least ten additional women each year have received a position at the middle management level. Thus, the percentage of male laypersons at the middle management level has decreased compared to the time of the 2013 survey. However, male laypersons continue to make up the largest share of new appointments.

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