Institutional sexism continues to hinder women’s career progression, creating hurdles that women must overcome in the workplace. The context of institutional religion is not exempt from such gender-related injustice, and women in leadership positions within the ecclesiastical system are vulnerable to overt gender inequality. This article examines gender disenfranchisement in Hong Kong churches. It utilizes data gathered and processed through the qualitative research methodology of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to analyze the lived experience of clergywomen in English-speaking faith communities in Hong Kong. The study reveals the indisputable presence of institutional sexism manifested and perpetuated by a host of gender marginalizing treatments which I refer to as gender discrimination. These oppressive, discriminatory practices range in gravity and verbal explicitness, and have been categorized as physical, emotional, and theological in nature. The pervasive and acute discriminatory behaviors collectively diminish women’s voices and authority and maintain the power disparity between women and men. This article deepens the understanding of the patriarchal status quo of the Hong Kong church, expands on the existing research corpus on gender discrimination in the church, and hopes to join in the global feminist dialogue to support provisions to address the detrimental impacts on women serving in leadership roles.

Author Biography

Caroline Yih is an honorary post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Aberdeen. She completed her Ph.D. in Practical Theology at the University of Aberdeen. The title of her thesis was “Practising in an inhospitable land: The lived experience of chaplains in Hong Kong hospitals.” Caroline was a hospital pharmacist before completing her M.Div. and has been working as a palliative chaplain for five years. Her ongoing research focuses on different modes of disenfranchisement and trauma.