Quaker Studies

Opening the Shutters: Gurneyite Quakerism and the Struggle for Women’s Equality in the Meeting for Business, 1859 to 1930

Quaker Studies (2014), 18, (2), 170–190.

Abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries American Gurneyite Quakers ended the practice of having separate women’s Meetings for Business. This article examines the discourse among Gurneyite Quakers that argued for and against ending these separate Meetings and the creation of co-gendered ‘joint’ Meetings. It argues based on this inquiry that while this process may have been linked to larger shifts in gender roles that were occurring within American religious life, it also arose out of circumstances that were particular to Quakerism. Further, this paper raises questions about what the consequences were for Gurneyite women of eliminating Women’s Meetings, suggesting that it may actually have worked to marginalize them and restrict their roles in church governance.

Opening the Shutters: Gurneyite Quakerism and the Struggle for Women’s Equality in the Meeting for Business, 1859 to 1930

Abstract

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries American Gurneyite Quakers ended the practice of having separate women’s Meetings for Business. This article examines the discourse among Gurneyite Quakers that argued for and against ending these separate Meetings and the creation of co-gendered ‘joint’ Meetings. It argues based on this inquiry that while this process may have been linked to larger shifts in gender roles that were occurring within American religious life, it also arose out of circumstances that were particular to Quakerism. Further, this paper raises questions about what the consequences were for Gurneyite women of eliminating Women’s Meetings, suggesting that it may actually have worked to marginalize them and restrict their roles in church governance.


Details

Author details

May, Isaac