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Church of England gives staff 'unconscious bias training' to help ensure that half of its leaders are female by 2030

Church of England gives staff 'unconscious bias training' to help ensure that half of its leaders are female by 2030
Bishop Sarah Mullally hopes training creates 'different conversations' in the Church
Church of England is to introduce 'unconscious bias training' to hire women
Campaign group says church 'needs to show it's welcome' especially to women
Training will show they 'are taken seriously' and 'good enough for leadership'

29 December 2019

The Church of England is to use 'unconscious bias training' to help ensure half of its leaders are female by 2030.

Bishop of London Sarah Mullally, 57, hopes the change will stop men hiring employees in their own image and create a 'different' kind of conversation in the Church.

Training has already been introduced in Church House in Westminster, London, and the London diocese will follow suit.

At present, 25 out of 115 bishops in the church are women in the UK.

Meanwhile Pope Francis has reaffirmed the 'door is closed' for women to become priests in the Roman Catholic Church.

Ms Mullally told The Times: 'I certainly think that having women as priests enables different types of conversations that probably wouldn't happen if you're a man. My background as a nurse means people often talk to me in a different way.'

People would seek her opinion on health-related issues such as varicose ulsers when they would only visit her clerics at Salisbury Cathedral for 'deep theological conversations'.

Emma Percy, a chairwoman of Women and the Church, said: 'The Church of England needs to show that it is a church for all, where women are taken seriously, where women are good enough for leadership and, consequently, seen as good enough for God.'

Bishop Lane, from Glossop in Derbyshire, was one of the first females ordained in 1994 after the Church reduced barriers to entry for women.

Linda Woodhead, professor of sociology of religion at Lancaster University, has suggested the initiative is 'too little too late'.

The academic suggested female engagement with the Church has shrunk with only one wedding happening every year and the average congregation being 27.

She slammed the training for not being enough to get the demographic reversed.

This comes just weeks after the Queen's chaplain Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, 58, became the Church of England's first ever female black bishop in its near 500-year history.

The Right Reverend Libby Lane, who was the first female bishop in the Church of England, became the new Bishop of Derby.

Rachel Treweek became Bishop of Gloucester in 2015 and urged the church to stop calling God as 'he'.

She initially refused the title of 'right reverend father' when she was appointed bishop.

General Synod of the Church of England voted to allow female bishops in 2014.

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