Sisters as Ministerial Servants?
You only need to watch Geoffrey Jackson's reaction to the Australia Royal Commission's suggestion that women be involved in assisting victim's of child sexual abuse, to know the answer to this question.
Jackson's testimony can be seen on youtube.
In the 50's and 60's (and maybe earlier but I wasn't alive then) female jws were unofficially selected to handle things like magazines, literature, territories, moderate book studies. But never officially appointed as such. As soon as a qualified male jw was available, she would train them to take over the duties. I have seen sisters handle sound in very small congregations...2 elders and no MS or even baptized qualified men.
Sisters have handled accounts behind the scenes and an elder handle announcing the monthly accounts report. Sisters have audited the accounts (CPAs no less).
In recent years with the lack of MS, elders have asked the CO to be able to use sisters and have been told that the elders would have to do the MS duties including microphones until they find a qualified baptized brother. I did see a school overseer have his 9 year old unbaptized son (not even an unbaptized publisher) use his son to time the parts. That ended after to many complaints by local jws.
I was in congregations with no baptized men, only a brother who drove in from 600 miles away on the weekend to handle the public talk and WT study. Eventually a special pioneer couple was reassigned there but even he had to find work far away during the week.
Sisters have been selected to coordinate (not conduct or teach) field arrangements during the week when there were no brothers. It wasn't up for grabs by the sisters who showed up, but the sister the body selected. Headcovering required, no need for diapers or napkins since it was scheduled and assigned, a collection of scarves were kept in the library. 45 years a jw in 20 congregations, never saw a diaper or napkin used. Pioneers always had scarves in their bookbags. Sounds like passive aggression by the sisters.
I have seen brothers appointed MS would could not read...............! That was amazing.
WT will not "use" sisters unless they have no other option. The men are not stepping up or reaching out. This is awesome. Watching WT having to "use" sisters mean the men are waking up and in a round about way giving WT the finger. Ha ha WT you are going to have to "use" the ones (sisters)...you know...the ones you have insulted over the years. Funny thing is, some sisters will love it. We know of a few "nut jobs" in the org that would lap that one up. lol
Why so few male jws:
1) more and more born in young male jws are leaving at 18
2) some are even holding off baptism
3) some get only a few hours in on purpose so not to qualify
4) there have always been more men than women in the WTS
5) no real focus on converting men, D2D during the day when men are not home, sisters doing most of the D2D contacting women and few men (even if they pursue any male religious interest), elders who give lip service to calling on non-jw husbands
6) elders are aging out of the system
The WTS will just reassign elders and MS to other "needy" congregations if possible. Or send laid off Bethelites.
But for those who weren't alive when there were only sisters in the congregation to do all the admin duties. There was no road to higher responsibility for them, no thanks, only to have a 17 year old boy take over. The visiting congregation servant was rude and dismissive to these sisters, never a thank you.
And of course amalgamating congregations so there are enough "qualified men" to go round.
A little story from a circuit near where I live.
Four congregations near each other (1,2,3,4) with the perfect storm of low attendances (>50) in two of them (2 and 4); two kingdom halls with one of them being old, costly but valuable in £££ terms ( - like £500K plus - valuable) and aging bodies of elders in the two low attendance halls and also in Cong 3 which had more publishers but only 5 elders of which 4 are between 65 and 80.
What did they do in 2015/2016?
Cong 1 and 2 have their hall sold. Cong 1 is shifted 8 miles down the road to the next town in its entirety and put in with 3 other congs and that hall is refurbed. Cong 2 is disbanded with publishers being spread to 3 congregations including boosting Cong 4 with 30 extra publishers and 3 extra elders.
Congs 3 and 4 have their hall refurbished at a cost of about 50K (bear in mind that the org have sold a hall for 500K!) and the org is now eyeing up another cong. with a dilapidated valuable hall (this time the thick end of £1 million) to chuck in with them.
5 Bethelites (2 elders and wives plus a single MS) have been booted out and they have landed in cong 3.
So we have about £1.5 million for the London Branch coffers, 5 available elders and a couple of pioneer wives to put into the congregations that are struggling , a pair of halls with a lick of paint and new carpet that couldn't have cost more than £100K the pair.
No need for sisters to break out the doilies just yet!
Diogenesister: I never made the assertion that all religions or even all Christian religions do not ordain women. There are plenty of them, but my point was that you have to lay the same criticism down on all of the religions that do not ordain or put women in positions of power. That would include two religions that total about 2 billion people, Catholics and Muslims.
Never a JW:
I can only say what the video that was produced by Watchtower speaks of and it highlights the qualities that are found in Titus of spiritually older women.
re. the head-covering thing...
Maybe they'll do well poaching new sisters from other Xtian denominations in Muslim countries...
...the newly minted ones can just wear hijabs all the time, handle congregation duties, and fit in more easily with the general population.
The Org's attitudes on women, kids, and gays already dovetail nicely with Islamic Law, after all.
Richard Oliver continues his theme of 'but other religions do it too'. Okay, let's say once and for all that JWs are not unique and are more or less a typical high-control patriarchal organization in which women have few, if any, congregational roles of oversight.
Now that we've got that out there, we can continue focusing on JW policies and practices without having to comment on how other religious groups compare at every twist and turn.
This is after all a forum on JW organization and it should go without saying that posts and comments are about that organization - but the need to constantly contextualize is tiresome and unnecessary.