By Bishop Genieve Blackwell
31 March 2022
I am writing in response to Stephen Cauchi’s reporting on the draft Clergy Legislation Review bill which has now been released in April’s TMA. The story included the quote that “both the group and Bishop Blackwell had concluded quotas were unworkable and would not solve the problem.”
I would like to correct this account of my view. I still believe that quotas are workable.
Both myself and Reverend Steve Webster (seconder of the motion at last year’s synod) were grateful for the opportunity to speak to a written submission to the working group, regarding increasing the numbers of female clergy as vicars and priests in charge.
We agree the issue is not just about legislation, but we also argued strongly that legislation does have a critical role in achieving cultural change and that we have much to learn from places and institutions where quotas have been implemented to great effect. In addition to the implementation of quotas, our submission also argued for applying a single schedule providing for a gender analysis to be applied to all aspects of the proposed legislation.
This significant review of our legislation in relation to clergy and the drafting of a new act is a once in a generation moment to express our commitment to women in charge of our parishes and Authorised Anglican Congregations. The changes we suggested could make a critical and strategic contribution to this.