Where are the Women?

Women in Church Leadership - listing  If you know of women not listed here, please send it to debrose@futurechurch.org.

Rome (research by Gudrun Sailer of Radio Vatican)

There are two women serving as Undersecretaries in the Curia.  

  •  Sister Nicoletta Spezzati at the Congregation for Religious 
  •  Laywoman Flaminia Giovanelli at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The Governorate for Vatican City State, is the government of the city-state, and includes organizations such as the Vatican Museums and Vatican Post Office.  Most employed here are not required to have a University degree and they work in places such as the supermarket, the various shops, and service positions in the Vatican Museums.  The number of women employees has nearly doubled over the past decade, from 195 in 2004 to 371 in 2014. This increase raised the percentage of female staff from 13% to 19%.

The Holy See, which governs the Universal Church, and includes such organizations as the Roman Curia and Vatican Radio.  In the offices of the Holy See, there are 391 women, making up 18% of the workforce.  Four years ago, there were 288 women (17%).  Women who are employed at the Holy See are generally better educated with employment requiring a University degree.  41% of women have University degrees, and work in professional positions (e.g. department heads, archivists, historians, and journalists.)

The first woman was hired at the Vatican exactly 100 years ago: Anna Pezzoli was hired by the Floreria, which deals with logistics for papal celebrations. By 1929, women were already filling professional positions, including creating the manuscript index at the Vatican Library.

However, women only began working at the Vatican in large numbers after the Second Vatican Council.

The first woman to hold a position of authority in a Curial office was the Australian Rosemary Goldie, who served as a vice-Secretary at the Council for the Laity until 1976 under Blessed Pope Paul VI. Pope St. John Paul II appointed the first female Undersecretary: Sister Enrica Rosanna at the Congregation for Religious.