In July 1996, nine members of the Women’s Ordination Conference attended the first European Women’s Synod in Gmunden, Austria. They went with hopes to forge an international strategy network to promote women’s ordination in the Catholic Church. They were not disappointed.

At the outset, fourteen countries joined the budding international coalition, including Germany, Austria, Spain, Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, the United States, South Africa, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and the Phillipines. They named the network WOW — Women’s Ordination Worldwide! Today, sixteen organizations from eleven different countries are represented.


Representatives from various nations gather in Rome to lobby for justice for women including ordination as deacons, priests and bishops.

The mission of Women’s Ordination Worldwide:

to promote worldwide the ordination of Roman Catholic women to a renewed priestly ministry in a democratic church, and to stand in solidarity with women who are ordained in the ongoing renewal of the church.

Although WOW is, at present, predominantly Roman Catholic, it does not exclude other religions working for the same aim, e.g., the Orthodox church and those Protestant traditions where women are not yet ordained.

WOW held two international conferences, June 2001 in Dublin, Ireland and July 2005 in Ottawa, Canada. WOW is planning to hold the third international conference in 2010.


Steering Committee of Women’s Ordination Worldwide meeting in London


Sunday mass at Westminster Cathedral provides an opportunity to demand an open door policy for women in the church