Since 1972, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women has been charged with monitoring, research, education and advocacy to eradicate sexism in The United Methodist Church. Such an enormous job requires the work not just of the commission staff and governing board, but also the help of volunteers in every annual conference.

All United Methodist Annual Conferences are required by the Book of Discipline to have a Commission on the Status and Role of Women (AC COSROW). You can find a description of the annual conference COSROW's purpose and responsibilities in The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church in Resolution #8021- Functions of an Annual Conference COSROW. Annual conferences are also required to fund the group's work.

The Book of Discipline tasks each AC COSROW with the work of raising awareness about the status of women and working with leaders of our churches, districts and conferences to move towards the full and equal participation of women in the total life of the church (2012 BOD ¶2103). To achieve this goal, AC COSROWs are encouraged to undertake the following four areas of ministry:  Education, Advocacy, Cooperation, Monitoring & Research. (Excerpt from General Commission on the Status and Role of Women website, gcsrw.org)

Eastern PA Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women (COSROW)

About Us: We are an inclusive team striving for representation from each of our Districts and for all of the women we serve.  If you or someone you know is interested in serving with us, please contact Shauna Ridge at pastorshaunaridge@gmail.com, or Jonette Gay at pastor@otterbeinlancaster.org.

  • Rev. Shauna K. Ridge (CS)
  • Rev. Jonette Gay (CW)
  • Janet Mills (LE)
  • Ethel Hibbs (LE)
  • Ethel Malone (LE)
  • Patricia Wilson (LN)
  • Gladys Hubbard (CE)
  • Rev. Debra Coulbourn (CE)

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Women of the UMC

As leaders, teachers, missionaries, and organizers, women have shaped the history of Methodism. In their work with the poor and disenfranchised, women have initiated important social and political reform. Roughly 800,000 members belong to United Methodist Women, and approximately 25% of clergy in The United Methodist Church are female.

We invite you to explore the inspiring stories of women who have made important contributions to the life of the church, as well as ideas to help nurture your own participation and witness. 

Here are just articles on our Conference website and UM News’ website that celebrate women, lay and clergy, who have bless the UM church with love and leadership—past and present.

Bishop featured in Women's History Month video

Bishop Peggy Johnson reflects on her ministry and that of other clergywomen  in this interview for the Conference Commission on the Status and Role of Women. Watch the video on Youtube.

GCSRW Resources

In 2014, GCSRW convened a research summit to identify the ways that unique struggles and stresses that clergy family experience, best practices for supporting clergy families, and to seek recommendations for how to better provide a denominational culture and resources for the spouses and children of UM Clergy. That summit identified recommendations for improved support and behaviors at multiple levels of the denomination, including annual conferences, districts, local church staff parish relations committees and an online resource and networking hub to be sponsored by the GCSRW. Read the summit report.

Visit our Resources & Links page for more

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General Commission (GCSRW) News:

Following God's direction
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When faced with resistance, we sometimes back down, even when we believe we are doing what God has created us to do. In the latest episode of the "Get Your Spirit in Shape" podcast, the Rev. Donna Fowler-Marchant introduces some of the amazing women of the early Methodist movement who chose to follow God, even when the tradition of the day — and many of the men — said what they were doing was wrong.
Listen to podcast

Anti-racism, gender pay gap discussed by board
CHICAGO — The board of the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women met virtually March 19-20. Discussion topics included the commission’s role in anti-racism work and an updated survey addressing the gender pay gap in the denomination.
Read press release