WOMEN IN THE AIC Women are the backbone of the African Independent Churches. They form the majority of members, and play a vital part in most activities in their churches. Despite this there is no chapter on women in my book. This is in part because this research was a creature of its time: I cannot recall at any time discussing writing anything focusing particularly on women with my research supervisor, Professor Monica Wilson. On the other hand, one could not write anything about churches without referring to women. They are everywhere - as leaders, as healers, as prophets, as organisers and as ordinary members. But theirs was a particularly patriarchal society. For the vast majority of churches, substantive rank could only be taken by men, with women taking their husbands' rank - as for example a Lady Bishop or a Lady Minister - which gave them status rather than responsibility.. Power could be exercised in certain cases by women prophets, but usually indirectly, using influence. With very few exceptions they worked through churches led by men. Even in the few cases I encountered where a woman had founded the church she still needed a male hierarchy of some sort. In one a case where the Prophet was utterly dominant in her church and virtually presided at the services, she had her husband installed as the Bishop of the church although he was clearly reluctant, and remained very much in the background. On the other hand, there were very successful husband and wife partnerships combining the healing power the prophet with bureaucratic and other skills of bishop. The BBCAC was a notable example, with the Prophet the source of most of the new members, and with the Archbishop's preaching and organisational skills being effective in building the church as a "place to feel at home" as well as to be healed. In addition to all the regular activities of the church, every church had a women’s prayer group, or manyano. Manyanos regularly met on Thursday afternoons, the traditional “afternoon off” for domestic workers. They have their own structures and leadership, and act independently. In addition to AICA there was WAAIC, the Women's Association of African Independent Churches. This had been brought into being by AICA, but operated completely independently, with its own leadership, budget, programmes and advisers, Unlike its male counterpart, it was a model of peaceful co-operation, and busied itself with practical projects, But its members were forced to follow their husbands’ lead. For example when men broke the away from AICA their wives had to sever ties with WAAIC – usually to their consternation.