AIZAWL, Feb 22 � The Baptist Church of Mizoram, the second largest church denomination, has cleared the decks for ordination of an eminent woman theologian, but she will not be made a parish priest.
The move is not surprising as the State is a strict patriarchal society where gender parity in political and religious fields still seems to be a far cry.
Though the Executive Committee of the Assembly of the Baptist Church has finally agreed to ordain Dr RL Hnuni, scholar of the Bible�s Old Testament and Principal of Academy of Integrated Christian Studies in Aizawl, church leaders have said that she might not look after a pastoral.
�Hnuni will be ordained on March 11 at the Assembly of the Baptist Church of Mizoram, the highest decision-maker of the church in Lunglei after which she would have the title of Reverend and become a church minister,� a church leader said.
But the prominent theologian might not be given the task of maintaining an independent pastoral of her own like her male counterparts, he adds.
Earlier last year, the Executive Committee of the church�s Assembly rejected the recommendations of the Pastoral Committee to ordain Hnuni, but finally accepted the second recommendation in January this year.
The Mizoram Synod of the Presbyterian Church of India, the largest church denomination in the State also is yet to agree to ordination of women as priests and church elders though the church employs many women theologians in different capacities.
More than 40 years ago, Saptawni, wife of Rev Liangkhaia, a prominent Presbyterian priest, was elected by the congregation of the Mission Veng local church as a church elder, but the Synod refused to ordain her because she was a woman.
Saptawni not only was the first woman to be elected as a church elder of the Presbyterian Church, but also the last.
The Presbyterian Church, during 1970-80, even set a standard height for priests who had to be at least five feet and four inches tall, apparently to be able to tower over churchgoers from the pulpit.
Women also faced gender disparity in the political field, says Prof Lalneihzovi of the Mizoram University.
�The best time for Mizo women in politics was during 1972 to 1987 when Mizoram was a Union Territory,� Lalneihzovi says, adding that representation of women in the 30-member Mizoram Assembly during the period was 6.06 per cent.
Mizoram, when it was a Union Territory, had two women legislators between 1978 and 1984, with one of them being a nominated member. � PTI