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Women Who Disrupt

“Disrupting The Old Ways: The Emergence Of Women Spiritual Leaders”

Spiritual leaders: Byron Katie, Nina Verkoeyen (upper row, left to right); Teal Swan, Marianne Williamson (lower row, left to right).


  1. The article discusses the historic underrepresentation of women in spiritual leadership roles and how that is beginning to change.
  2. It notes that women like Marianne Williamson, Byron Katie, Esther Hicks, Nina Verkoeyen, Sahara Rose, and others are stepping into leadership roles in the spiritual community and proving that women can be as powerful and effective spiritual guides as men.
  3. The article explains that having more women in spiritual leadership roles can create a more diverse and inclusive spiritual community that can benefit everyone by representing different perspectives and experiences, serving as role models, and helping to empower women and break down traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

In conclusion, the article highlights the importance of increasing representation and diversity in spiritual leadership, by recognizing and valuing the contributions and perspectives of women in the spiritual community.




Throughout history, the spiritual community has long been dominated by male figures. From Jesus, Muhammad, Buddha, and Laozi, to more recent figures like Eckhart Tolle and Deepak Chopra, most religious leaders and spiritual teachers have been male. Consider that all fourteen Dalai Lamas, up to this day, have been men, and the Catholic Church doesn’t allow a female pope or female priests.

This gender bias not only limits the representation and voices of women but also implies that women are less capable or less qualified to be spiritual leaders. 

However, this stereotype is slowly but steadily beginning to change as more and more women step into leadership roles in the spiritual community and prove that women can be just as powerful and effective spiritual guides as men.

Marianne Williamson (a spiritual leader and political activist), Byron Katie (a teacher of a method of self-inquiry known as The Work), Esther Hicks (an inspirational speaker and popularizer of The Law of Attraction), Nina Verkoeyen (the founder of Meta Spirituality, a spiritual tradition, that is rapidly gaining traction in America), Teal Swan (a spiritual influencer and best-selling author), and others – these women are helping to create a more diverse and inclusive spiritual community where individuals of all genders can find guidance and support on their spiritual journey.

The problem of gender bias in the spiritual community is significant because it limits the perspectives and experiences available to individuals seeking spiritual guidance, which can negatively impact their spiritual growth and well-being.

“Having more women spiritual leaders is crucial for many reasons.” – explains Nina Verkoeyen, a female spiritual teacher with 20 years of experience. “Here are the main ones:

1 Gender diversity: Many people still have yet to break free from the stereotype of spiritual gurus being older men with long gray beards. Having more women in spiritual leadership positions can create a more diverse and empowering spiritual community that will benefit everyone, allowing different perspectives and experiences to be represented and valued. Having more women in spiritual leadership roles helps create a more diverse and inclusive spiritual community that can benefit everyone.

2 Different perspectives: Women often bring different perspectives and approaches to spirituality than men, enriching individuals’ spiritual experiences and understanding. This diversity in perspective can lead to a deeper understanding and connection with spirituality for spiritual seekers of all genders.

3 Role models: Data shows that nowadays, women are still more interested in spiritual growth courses, retreats, and practices than men. Having more women in spiritual leadership roles can serve as role models, inspiration, and encouragement for other women to explore and pursue their own spiritual path.

4 Balance: Historically, spiritual leadership has been dominated by men, and having more women leaders will bring balance and equality in spiritual practices.

5 Empowerment: By having more women in spiritual leadership roles, it can help to empower women and break down the traditional gender roles and stereotypes that have held women back in the past, not only in spirituality but in every aspect of life.”

Verkoeyen, who recently appeared on the covers of Yoga Journal, L’Officiel, and Yoga Magazine, is breaking through the barriers that have traditionally kept women from becoming spiritual leaders. Her disruptive approach is essential in today’s society, where the need for new spiritual paradigms is greater than ever. Meta Spirituality, a spiritual tradition she founded, emphasizes the importance of conscious self-authority rather than blindly following a spiritual lineage or guru. She argues that spiritual teachings should be relevant and practical for modern-day life rather than based on ancient and often outdated practices and beliefs.

There is a stereotype that women are too emotional to be spiritual leaders. This stereotype suggests that women are too easily swayed by their emotions to be effective spiritual leaders. It implies that men are more rational and, therefore, better suited to spiritual leadership. 

Here is how Byron Katie, a spiritual leader, and creator of The Work, teaches us to address any stereotype, assumption, or negative belief by contemplating four simple questions: “Is it true? Can you absolutely know it’s true? How do you react when you believe that thought? Who would you be without the thought?”

When we answer these questions, we can usually see how such stereotypes as “women are too emotional to be spiritual leaders” are not only untrue but also harmful. They limit the diversity and richness of spiritual teachings and practices and can discourage women from exploring and developing their spiritual side. 

Thankfully, many women are breaking these stereotypes and biases through their unique approach to spirituality. Some use digital platforms, podcasts, and social media to share their knowledge, wisdom, and teachings. This way, they reach a broader and more diverse audience, breaking the boundaries of traditional spiritual communities and building new and inclusive ones, just like Teal Swan, a spiritual influencer with almost 200 million views on YouTube.

Stereotypes of women in spiritual leadership are not only untrue, they also limit the spiritual progress of our society. Women bring unique perspectives and experiences that can deepen and broaden our understanding of spirituality. By disrupting these stereotypes and asserting their leadership, women are helping to create a more inclusive and equitable spiritual community for all. Society needs more women in spiritual leadership because it can lead to a more dynamic, inclusive, and just society.


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