I came through a legal background and fully expected to be treated as an equal, simply because perhaps I'm part of this next generation of young people who have grown up expecting to be equal. All through school you're treated as equal and suddenly you find yourself in a situation where you're not quite treated the same. But it's very subtle - people don't club together, or the men make you ‘an honorary lad' - because somehow they know that you're different, even though you weren't trying to be different, you were simply being one of the group. But it's other people's discomfort with you which is very uncomfortable: you're made to feel that somehow if they have a problem with women ministers, it's your fault. In a sense because the women have been accepted more officially into the life of the church, it makes people feel uncomfortable - the status quo has changed; they're not quite sure how to deal with it; the women are the cause of the conflict. Whereas in fact the conflict has always existed, and it's only now that the conflict is coming to the surface and being perceived.
Perhaps in a parallel to sectarianism where, say, Republicans could be perceived as causing problems in Civil Rights marches and all the rest, where they were only high-lighting a problem that existed but was under the surface. And so in the same way, women can be made to feel that they are causing trouble, if they ask for equal treatment or if they point out where they're not being given the same benefits.
There's a totally different problem which comes which is that in the institutions' desire to give equality and to give a voice to women, there's the quota idea of having a certain number of women in any committee, in any group that's discussing policy or whatever: and so it's an advantage because you get parachuted onto all sorts of things - there are very few women and we don't spread around very well; but it also means that we're overworked.
Do women find it difficult to accept a woman as a minister?
I find that often women are the most sexist and the least accommodating of a woman minister - the most exacting, the most demanding. Because they quite liked, perhaps, fawning around a male minister or a male assistant minister. A young, male minister would be invited frequently to lunch, and pampered and fed, and wouldn't have to look after himself - but not so many would provide the same kind of hospitality or welcome because a woman is assumed to be able to look after herself in the way that a man isn't.