The possibility of women being admitted to the orders of deacon, priest and bishop has been on the Church of England's agenda since at least 1966 when Women and Holy Orders was produced for the Church Assembly. Over the succeeding two decades, the General Synod followed up with The Ordination of Women to the Priesthood (1972), The Ordination of Women (1978) and The Ordination of Women to the Priesthood: Further Report (1984).
Latest statement from the House of Bishop, May 2013.
On May 21 2013 the House of Bishops released the following statement on Women in the Episcopate.
"At its meeting in York the House of Bishops of the Church of England has committed itself to publishing new ways forward to enable women to become bishops.
"In its discussion on the issue of women in the episcopate, the House received and approved for publication the report from the Working Group on Women in the Episcopate which was set up on 11 December to prepare new legislative proposals following the General Synod's rejection of the last legislation on 20 November 2012.
"The report of the Working Group presented four new options as a way forward and proposed that the General Synod should consider those options at its meeting in July. The Working Group also proposed a timetable which would involve the legislation starting its formal stages in the Synod in November and receiving Final Approval in 2015.
"The House of Bishops has agreed that the report of the Working Group should be published with a separate report from the Archbishops on behalf of the House setting out the House's recommendations to the General Synod. The House has also asked the Business Committee of the General Synod to arrange for a substantial amount of time to be available at the General Synod in July for facilitated conversations in small groups before the Synod comes to a decision on the way forward.
"The House also approved the necessary changes in its standing orders to ensure the attendance of senior women clergy at its meetings. These changes were proposed following the House's decision at its meeting in December to ensure the participation of senior female clergy in its meetings until such time as there are six female members of the house, following the admission of women to the episcopate."