Gendered Organizations and Inequality Regimes: Gender, Homosexuality, and Inequality Within Religious Congregations


  • Acknowledgments: The author would like to thank Laura Olson and the anonymous reviewers, as well as Kevin Dougherty, Paul Froese, Carson Mencken, Charles Tolbert, and Wade Rowatt for their comments on earlier drafts. Special thanks as well to Kelly Whitehead.

Correspondence should be addressed to Andrew L. Whitehead, Research Services, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 100 Witherspoon Street, Louisville, KY 40202-1396 USA. E-mail:


Building upon Acker's (1990. Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: A theory of gendered organizations. Gender and Society 4(2):139–58; 2006. Inequality regimes: Gender, class, and race in organizations. Gender and Society 20(4):441–64) theory of gendered organizations and inequality regimes, this study investigates the extent to which inequality in gender and sexuality are linked within religious congregations. Using a nationally representative sample of congregations in the United States, the results demonstrate that a congregation's stance toward allowing women to serve as head clergyperson is significantly associated with its acceptance of gays and lesbians as members or leaders within the congregation. This research extends existing literature in three ways. First, it offers support for the utility of the concept of inequality regimes for investigating dimensions of inequality in addition to gender. Second, it provides evidence of the intersection of gender and sexuality within religious congregations, thereby contributing to the growing dialogue on congregational responses to homosexuality. Finally, these findings propose a number of avenues for future research regarding gender, sexuality, and organizations.