Women will be allowed to become bishops in Welsh Anglican churches following a landmark vote today.
Supporters and women’s rights groups called the decision long overdue – arguing that the exclusion of women from the top roles made the church less relevant in modern society.
The decision now puts pressure on their English counterparts to follow suit – given that Scotland and Northern Ireland allow female bishops.
Members of the Church in Wales’s 144-strong governing body voted through the proposals at a meeting in Lampeter. The votes needed a two- thirds majority from three of the church’s “houses” – laity, clergy and bishops. The laity voted 57 for and 14 against with the clergy backing the move by 37 to 10. The bishops were unanimously in favour of the plan.
The decision means that the Church in Wales could elect its first woman bishop within months, although in practice, vacancies among its seven bishops are rare.
A similar proposal was defeated in 2008 by just three votes.