News In Depth
Clergywomen who may become bishops
Here are some of the women clergy who have been mentioned as possible contenders to break through the "stained glass ceiling" should the Church of England's national assembly give final approval to legislation introducing the first women bishops.
:: The Very Rev Vivienne Faull, 57, Dean of York Minster.
Ms Faull read history at St Hilda's College, Oxford and was among the first batch of 1,000 women to be ordained in the Church of England. She is a former chaplain to Clare College, Cambridge, the first woman to hold such an appointment at either Oxford or Cambridge universities.
:: The Rev Dr Jane Hedges, 57, Canon Steward of Westminster Abbey and Archdeacon of Westminster.
Dr Hedges has responsibility for welcoming the abbey's millions of visitors and pilgrims every year. She is frequently seen at high-profile services in Westminster Abbey, greeting and accompanying senior members of the Royal Family.
She received widespread coverage when she became the first clergywoman to shake hands with Pope Benedict XVI when he attended a prayer service at Westminster Abbey on his visit to Britain in 2010.
:: The Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin, 51, chaplain to the House of Commons, a chaplain to the Queen and vicar in two inner city parishes in east London.
The first black female chaplain to the House of Commons is known for her straight talking.
Ms Hudson-Wilkin was born and brought up in Montego Bay, Jamaica, settling in the UK in 1985. She worked in the Midlands after being ordained and is now vicar to two inner city parishes in Hackney east London.
:: Dr Miranda Threlfall-Holmes, vicar of Belmont and Pittington, Durham.
Dr Threlfall Holmes, a mother-of-three and a historian, is a prominent campaigner for women bishops.
She was a university chaplain and research fellow at University College, Durham until recently and was interim principal of Durham University's Ustinov College last year.
An avid user of social media, Dr Threlfall-Holmes compared the Church of England to an abusive husband on her blog earlier this year following controversial last-minute changes to the draft legislation introducing women bishops. She later withdrew the posting.
She is reportedly a former atheist who became a Christian while at Cambridge University.
:: The Very Rev Dr June Osborne, 59, Dean of Salisbury Cathedral.
Dr Osborne has been the dean of Salisbury since 2004. She was the first woman to serve at a dean at Salisbury Cathedral and the first at any of England's medieval cathedrals.
A graduate in social sciences from Manchester University, Dr Osborne was among the first 1,500 women ordained as priests in the Church of England in 1994.
:: The Rev Lucy Winkett, Rector of James's Piccadilly, central London.
A former professional singer, Ms Winkett has degrees in history and theology and has also studied at the Royal College of Music.
She served her curacy in Ilford, east London, before being made canon precentor at St Paul's Cathedral. She is an author and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Thought For The Day slot.