The interior of Catherine Church in Stockholm. (Illustration) - Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP
- The first three were ordained by the Swedish Lutheran Church in 1960.
- “In 1990, a report estimated that the share of women in the Swedish clergy would not represent half of the priests until 2090. It finally took only thirty years. "
- While the clergy in Sweden has reached parity, the pay gap between male and female priests remains on average 2,200 Swedish kronor, or about 215 euros per month.
In sixty years, women priests have outnumbered men priests in Sweden. The first three were ordained by the Swedish Lutheran Church in 1960. In 2020, "of the 3,060 priests now serving in Sweden, 1,533 are women and 1,527 are men," Cristina Grenholm told AFP. , secretary of the Church of Sweden, that is to say a proportion of 50.1% women and 49.9% men.
Unlike the Catholic Church, the Swedish Lutheran Church has allowed women to become priests since 1958. In 1982, the Swedish Parliament passed a law removing the "conscience clause" which allowed priests to refuse any collaboration with a woman.
No pay equity
“The parity came faster than we had imagined,” says Cristina Grenholm. In 1990, a report estimated that the proportion of women in the Swedish clergy would not represent half of the priests until 2090. In the end, it only took thirty years. One of the reasons for this phenomenon is the gradual increase in the proportion of female students in priestly education, particularly after the separation of Church and State in 2000. In 2013, approximately 70% of students Swedes who underwent practical training as a priest were women.
“Today, many parishes are trying to have both a man and a woman to say Mass during Sunday service,” says Cristina Grenholm. “Since we believe that God created human beings, both man and woman in his image, it is essential that we show it. If you exclude half of the experience of a woman's life, then you exclude a lot of things ”.
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While the clergy in Sweden has reached parity, the pay gap between male and female priests remains on average 2,200 Swedish kronor, or about 215 euros per month, according to the specialist newspaper Kyrkans tidning . “One of the explanations that can be given for this difference is that it concerns all the priests of the Swedish Church. But men still hold the highest hierarchical positions, ”emphasizes Cristina Grenholm.
In Sweden, ministers of the Church of Sweden have the title of priest, while those serving in parishes outside the former State Church are called pastors.
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