I'm reading a book that I borrowed from my son in law: Discovering Biblical Equality. There's a section there that talks about how an active, practical equality of men and women among evangelical and charismatic Christians in the USA was overshadowed in the mid 20th century. Janette Hassey writes:
What can account for the gradual decline of public ministry opportunities for evangelical women between the world wars? First, fundamentalist separatist subcultures emerged which tended to harden on the women's issue. Second, as fundamentalism institutionalized, women were squeezed out of leadership roles. Third, the conservative Protestant backlash against changing social values resulted in restrictions on women in ministry. Finally, a more literalist view of Scripture among fundamentalists meant less flexibility in interpreting the subject of women in ministry.The subtitle of the book is Complementarity without Hierarchy. I do believe God created men and women to be different but I have never been able to buy into the idea that men are somehow automatically to rule over women. I've been blessed so many times by the teaching of women who know and respect the Word of God as it is recorded in the Holy Scriptures. So I am on a search for what the Bible really has to say about men and women in the church. Please pray that I would not be swayed by anything other than the Word of God.
My position, up to now, is that it is possible to be Biblically conservative and hold to a more egalitarian perspective on men and women's roles than is common among many evangelicals. The Bible is not 100% clear on this subject, just like it isn't 100% clear on other things (like, for example, questions about baptism). When there is a diversity of perspectives shown in scripture, it's just something that needs a careful look. I'll do some of that while I'm up north.