I will admit up front that I am treading on dangerous ground here. I fear that I will fall into stereotypical assessments of the qualities that a woman might bring to the pastoral task, but I welcome being challenged on these observations.
What particular strengths might a woman bring to the pastoral ministry? First, I certainly think that she would be more concerned and, perhaps more importantly, sensitive to relationships than many men are. From a male perspective, we often fail to detect the signals that someone is hurting, puzzled, or just plain angry.
Second, I think that most women ministers would be more concerned about aesthetics than the majority of men in the ministry. We tend to be interested in the content rather than the context. Male ministers are concerned about the task and reaching the goal, while females in the ministry are more concerned about presentation--"How will this be perceived? Will it be acceptable?"
Third, because women have so often been placed in roles where they are powerless, I believe that a woman minister will have a different approach to both authority and leadership than a male minister does. My guess is that the woman's approach to leadership will be rooted more in community than in position. This certainly fits the postmodern context in which we do ministry today.
Fourth, I think that women will have a healthier balance between public ministry and private life. Because of their concern for relationships and community (see above), I have found women in ministry to more concerned about self-care and private time, whether that is family, friends, or leisure activities.
Am I missing the boat here? What do you think?