Gordon in the News: last updated 04/01/2013

Gordon College Wins Grant for Research on Women in Leadership

March 28, 2013

Jo Kadlecek, Senior Writer
Office 978.867.4752, Cell 732.744.6407

WENHAM, MA—How well are women represented in leadership positions within evangelical institutions? The question is the primary focus of a newly funded two-year research project that began this spring at Gordon College.

The project—which was awarded a nearly $100,000 grant from the Boston-based Imago Dei Fund—is spearheaded by Gordon College Provost Janel Curry and Amy Reynolds, a sociology professor at Wheaton College (in Illinois). By first analyzing the representation of women leaders at evangelical institutions, Curry and Reynolds will then examine organizational policies, positions, salaries, and influences, and benchmark this information against national data across all sectors.

“Broader studies of gender parity in leadership suggest the larger story in the U.S. is quite challenging: women account for only 18 percent of the top leaders across all sectors,” Curry said. “But we know very little about what religious organizations look like in terms of gender equity. This grant allows us to explore another equally important demographic.”

Through primary interviews, conferences and quantitative surveys, Curry said that the study will examine the highest levels of leadership in evangelical higher education and non profit organizations as well as investigate barriers and supports connected with gendered leadership outcomes.

“We want to find out how culture is a part of this story, what it’s like within these organizations, and what the perceptions might be about gender equality and attitudes towards women in leadership,” Curry said. “And then how these perceptions match official policies or differ between men and women so that we can move forward.”

A research-consulting group of other scholars throughout the country will advise the first phase of data collection, and as advisory group will help develop a strategy, using the research findings, for positioning the issue of gender equality in leadership within evangelical groups. Curry hopes the findings—which will be published in a variety of formats including articles and video productions—will influence social change and provide insights for developing future leaders.


Gordon College is one of the nation's premier Christian colleges and located just north of Boston. We offer students extraordinary access to leading-edge opportunities for intellectual, professional, and leadership development to address the increasingly complex challenges of a global society. Gordon stands apart from other outstanding institutions in New England by combining an exceptional education with an informed Christian faith.