The Struggle to See Women as Leaders

The older I get, the more respect I have for the limits of our capacity to see what’s in front of us clearly. The filters of our brains are set hard and set early. We can shift them, but it takes steady commitment to open a new and broader aperture and let in the light of vision where shadows have prevailed.

Our capacity – in and out of the Episcopal Church – to see women as leaders has been impaired by generations of filter-setting. No surprise, then, that we overlook women – lay & ordained – as the leaders we need in an era of transformation in our Church. Participant in my own oppression, I struggle to see my own leadership capacity, let alone that of my sisters, clearly. If I, as a woman, cannot see myself, how will I persuade others to see what they are preset to overlook?

This little column of ISSUES will be devoted to widening the aperture of our perception of women offering adventurous, faithful, Spirit-led leadership at General Convention and beyond. I’m looking to profile women here at General Convention that we haven’t heard about yet. Suggestions? Email

- The Rev. Holly Lyman Antolini