Women and the Church (WATCH) was founded in 1996 as a national organisation working actively for gender justice, equality and inclusion in the Church of England. The ten founding aims of WATCH included the appointment of women as bishops. It was another eighteen years before that aim was realised. Since 2014 WATCH has reviewed its strategic intentions and become a charity, without losing sight of the remaining nine overarching aims

In 2017 WATCH became a charity and agreed its charitable objectives with the Charity Commission:

The promotion of gender equality and diversity with the Church of England as experienced by both lay and ordained people for the public benefit by:

  1. The elimination of discrimination on grounds of gender;
  2. Advancing education and raising awareness in gender equality and diversity;
  3. Conducting or commissioning research on equality and diversity issues and publishing the result to the public; and
  4. Cultivating a sentiment in favour of gender equality and diversity.

In 2018 WATCH developed a new strategy which recognised the changed landscape in which WATCH operates both in the Church of England and wider society. The strategy takes into account developments in the Church in relation to gender equality since the 2014 Settlement and the limited resources of a relatively small-scale volunteer organisation.

Building upon these foundations there are five strategies for WATCH:

Our overarching strategies are:
  1. To work for transparency and accountability in all areas of church life

    1. Continue to publish statistics, and ensure publications are branded and acknowledged

    2. Contribute to the Faith in Research conference

    3. Draw together a small group to gather and analyse evidence of conservative evangelical activity which militates against transparency and accountability

  2. To critique the Five Guiding Principles (5GPs), in order to understand how they do and don’t work

    1. Maintain membership of the Implementation and Dialogue Group

    2. Draw together a small group to gather and analyse material on 
the 5GPs, in order to develop a user-friendly guide based on the original purposes intended for the principles
  3. To broaden our membership, both lay and ordained, through engagement and providing resource

    1. Complete the signing up by members to the new system

    2. Survey of members about their needs and offerings

  4. To promote and encourage liturgy, theology and general language of the church which recognises and affirms that women are made in the image of God

    1. Produce a guide to gender-neutral language

    2. Develop simple liturgies using explicitly female language and imagery

  5. To devise and implement a communications strategy, to include all media

    1. Regular communications with members

    2. Ongoing use of social media to support the short term goals

    3. React to events and announcements where appropriate

    4. Annual production of Outlook

    5. Annual productions of reports on Developments in Women’s Ministry (based on annual Ministry Division Statistics for Ministry)

The process of developing and working with the new strategy allows the WATCH committee to reflect on where we are, what we want to be, and how we move forward. It is an ambitious agenda for a small group of people so others are encouraged to become involved. How to bring about cultural change in the Church is a challenge for us all. It is through its strategy, and the practical steps that WATCH has adopted, can we as an organisation hope to make this happen.

Contact WATCH

Email General Enquiries

PO Box 75
Upper Rissington
GL54 2XR

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Hon Vice Presidents

Rt Revd Anne Hollinghurst

Diana Johnson MP

Revd Lucy Winkett

Professor Nicola Slee

Very Revd Dr Jane Hedges

Ann Cryer JP

Sir Peter Bottomley MP


Vice Chair

Revd Rosalind Rutherford

Vice Chair

Roger Neill


John Briggs

Co-opted (Trustees)



Revd Imogen Vibert

Revd Jennifer Thomas

Jane Oldham

Professor Helen King

Revd Prebendary Dr Isabelle Hamley

Nicola Denyer

Revd Sally Wright

Revd Dr Mary Kells

Canon Lizzie Taylor

Canon Dr Felicity Cooke