Male speakers are still heavily outnumbering female on the UK's Christian conference circuit – but there are signs of change, according to data collected by the Project 3:28 initiative.
Aimed at challenging gender injustice in the UK church, Project 3:28 has analysed the proportion of men and women featuring at UK conferences since 2013.
Figures released today show that men out outnumber women on platforms by 62 to 38 per cent – an increase of one per cent on last year.
However, according to spokeswoman Natalie Collins, this is in part due to Project 3:28 including data from more events.
'We have seen a significant increase in platform equity for some organisations; in 2018 five events increased the number of women speaking on their platform by over 10 per cent,' she said. 'There were also four events during 2018 who had more women speaking than men, suggesting things are changing, even if there hasn't been an improvement overall.'
Last year's fall was the first in six years. In 2013, the national platform proportion was 75 per cent male and 25 per cent female.
This year the National Youth Ministry Weekend (49 per cent male, 51 per cent female) and Wildfires (51 per cent and 49 per cent) came joint top.
Joint second were Premier Digital and HTB Focus, with 52 per cent male and 48 per cent female, while Greenbelt and Church and Media Conference were third at 45 per cent female and 55 per cent male.
Most improved events from 2017-2018 were Ichthus Revive, up 16 per cent, and jointly HTB Focus and Naturally Supernatural, up 15 per cent.
Of events that had consistently achieved more than 40 per cent women speakers, the Baptist Assembly and Church and Media Conference came top.
Collins told Christian Today the trend was in the right direction and that the publication of the statistics had helped focus conference organisers on the need for equal gender representation. 'The vast majority of Christian events in the UK are not complementarian. I think they looked at the stats and saw that they weren't that good. It's a way for them to be accountable,' she said.
She added that Project 3:28's work had come at a 'tipping point' for women after several decades in which egalitarians had worked to mentor and encourage women speakers and leaders. 'The culture is now at a point where we can really see things change,' she said.