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:
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 Settlements and the limited resources of a relatively small-scale volunteer organisation.§
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.