I perceived my task to lie in the need to demonstrate that as far as gender issues excite especially heated debates within the religious circles, the example of women involvement into the Church activities serves as quite a unique tool of investigation of the wider field of gender aspects of organisation studies.
In order to fulfil the described task, our group completed the secondary background research with the aim to draw from the existing research the conceptual basis for the problem of women in the Church, to formulate it in the form of short thesises applicable for the purpose of making a concise and informative presentation, and to collect sufficient amount of relevant examples from historical and modern developments in the explored filed of study that would be used to buttress the premises and conclusions of the research.
The presentation prepared by our group for the symposium is called "Women, Priesthood and the Church of England", the title that simultaneously places the problem in the area of gender issues, and alludes to the more specific circumstances existing within the Church of England. The presentation is structured in such a way as to represent the prevalent attitudes towards gender within the Church, and to compare religious views of gender with those held in such an important sphere of social life as business. According to this logic of representation of information, we opened our presentation with statement of the underlying assumptions on which we operated, and with mentioning of the most fundamental statement about the Church, namely that it is a very specific organisation that shares similarities and differences with business organisations.
In the main body of the presentation we outlined specific qualities of religious and business organisations in relation to their structural peculiarities and their gender discourse, and according to a number of parameters that enabled us to make meaningful comparisons, e.g. sources of motivation (profits in business and divine fulfilment in religion), basic world views (survival of the fittest in business, and equality of people before God and their gender difference firmly integrated in religion), sources of justification of prevalent beliefs (capitalist discourse in business, and historic grounding in religion), etc. At this point, we can already see in what ways religion and business are similar, on what points they diverge, and what it means for the gender discourse. One of the early important conclusions that can already be made here is that due to some principal elements of faith the Church is limiting itself in its flexibility in achieving gender equality, which helps us understand one the main reasons of the gender controversy in application to religious organisations.
After the revealing comparative section of the presentation, we moved to the formulation of thesises that comprise the essence of the gender and priesthood problem. We outlined a number of general themes that deserve examination in the light of gender and priesthood problem, and which seem to indicate the main lines to approach it. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these themes are very much similar