‘Mormon Land’: The General Conference gender gap — why it should change and how it can.

The inequity at the pulpit is stark: Women speak and are quoted far less.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Tracy Y. Browning, second counselor in the children's Primary general presidency, speaks at General Conference on Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022. She became the first Black woman in a general presidency and the first to give a sermon at General Conference.

President Russell Nelson, worldwide leader of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has urged women to be seen and be heard, to speak up and speak out — in their communities, in their homes and in their congregations.

That may be happening at the grassroots level, but it isn’t occurring in the patriarchal faith’s highest-profile forum: General Conference. In the most recent gathering, only two of the 33 speakers were women. Even in past conferences, that number rarely reached a handful.

Researcher Eliza Wells, a doctoral student in philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, studied this phenomenon in conferences over a 50-year period for Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought and discovered an even deeper chasm: Men were at least 16 times more likely to be quoted over the pulpit than women — a gap that holds true even when women were speaking.

It’s an inequity that many women and men in the church notice and hope to change.

On this week’s show, Wells discusses her findings, the implications, the message sent, how to change that pattern and why it matters.

Listen here: