Yes, worldwide Jehovah’s Witnesses have several million women ministers. They are a great host of preachers of the good news of God’s Kingdom. Psalm 68:11 says prophetically of those ministers: “Jehovah himself gives the saying; the women telling the good news are a large army.”
However, do not confuse the ministry of women who are Jehovah’s Witnesses with the ministry performed by female clerics of other religions. There is a striking contrast that sets them apart. In what ways are they different?
The audience of their ministry is different. Clergywomen, particularly of Christendom, assume leadership roles within their congregations, and their main audience is made up of members of the flock. For women ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses, the main audience of their preaching is outside the congregation, namely the public, whom they meet in their house-to-house ministry and elsewhere.
Another way in which women ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses differ from those in other religions is their activity in the congregation. Female clerics of Christendom and other churches preside over and instruct members of their congregation in the dogma of their religion. Women ministers of Jehovah’s Witnesses, however, do not teach in the congregation when baptized men are present. Only men who are appointed as teachers do so.
The Bible describes only men as being charged with oversight of a congregation. Notice the pattern set by the apostle Paul when he wrote to a fellow overseer, Titus: “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you might . . . make appointments of older men in city after city.” Paul added that each man so appointed had to be “free from accusation, a husband of one wife.” (Titus 1:5, 6) Paul gave similar instructions to Timothy in his pastoral letter: “If any man is reaching out for an office of overseer, he is desirous of a fine work. The overseer should therefore be irreprehensible, a husband of one wife, . . . qualified to teach.”
Why are oversight functions in the congregation limited to men? Paul says: “I do not permit a woman to teach, or to exercise authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve.” (1 Timothy 2:12, 13) Thus, the order of creation indicates God’s purpose in the delegation of teaching and oversight.
Ministers of Jehovah follow the example of their Leader, Jesus Christ. The disciple Luke wrote about Jesus’ ministry: “He went journeying from city to city and from village to village, preaching and declaring the good news of the kingdom of God.” Later, Jesus sent out his followers to do the same work: “They went through the territory from village to village, declaring the good news.”
Today, ministers of Jehovah