A Basic Qualitative Study of Female Seminary Instructors as a Minority Group
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the religious education (seminary) program for high school-age students disproportionately consists of male seminary instructors and administrators. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of female seminary instructors through the lens of feminist and empowerment theories. Fifteen female seminary instructors were selected to participate in one-on-one interviews to provide data as a minority group within the seminary instructor population. A focus group of five instructors from the one-on-one interviews were invited to discuss the collected data and offer further analysis. The research identified multiple examples of gender bias and gender inequality experienced by the seminary instructors. The focus group recommended several changes in administration efforts to better train, educate, and improve gender equality among stakeholders. The recommended modifications included more clear communication of gender policy changes, increased efforts to improve workplace satisfaction for female instructors, and greater support for female instructors to return to graduate school with minor children living at home. The study could assist female seminary instructors’ colleagues, principals, and administrators with efforts to eliminate gender inequality and gender bias and improve the work environment for all employees.