SALT LAKE CITY – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hosting an all-women’s meeting Saturday, and it is the first such meeting to officially kick-off the LDS Church's semi-annual General Conference.
The LDS Church also announced that they would be allowing female reporters to attend the historically all-men’s Priesthood Session of General Conference, which is a move that met with approval from Ordain Women—which is a group advocating for changes to what they see as gender inequality within the LDS Church.
While the all-men's meeting is broadcast live on TV, women have not been traditionally allowed to attend the session in person.
The LDS Church used to have a single meeting for both women and girls in the 80s. They changed that in 1993 to make it two separate meetings. Now, they’re going back to the combined format, so girls and women over the age of 8 will be meeting together twice per year. The meeting will also now be considered the first session of the LDS Church’s semi-annual General Conference, which is held each year in the fall and spring.
Members of the group Ordain Women said they see the new format and designation for the women’s General Conference session as a historic moment.
“It’s the first time that the women’s meeting has been recognized as an official session of conference, and it’s one more step toward equality for women in the [LDS] Church,” said Debra Jenson, who is the executive board chair for Ordain Women.
Members of Ordain Women, which was co-founded by human rights lawyer Kate Kelly, a woman who was excommunicated from the LDS Church last year, said these announcements are milestones for the LDS Church.