Church could have first women bishops by 2014

The consecration of women as Church of England bishops is all but inevitable after a vote count across the country found overwhelming support for what is often described as "shattering the stained glass ceiling".

Over the past two months the Church of England's 44 dioceses have been voting on whether they approve of appointing women bishops, a proposal that was approved by Synod last summer after years of acrimonious dispute.

Only two dioceses – London and Chichester – have voted against the proposals, according to Women and the Church, which has spearheaded the decade-long campaign.

The results show how marginalised the minority of traditional and evangelical Anglicans who are opposed to women bishops have become.

The draft legislation will now go back to the Church's Synod next year for a final round of approval before it is passed to Parliament and becomes law. Under the current timetable it is likely that the first women bishops will be consecrated by 2014.