4) Women in Methodism, as in other denominations, found opportunities for leadership within organisations for mission and service, some for women only. City Missions set up in the last two decades of the nineteenth century offered women a degree of autonomy in leading groups working primarily among women and children but leading to wider access, (e.g. health care, temperance, rescue of prostitutes, together with evangelism), and a consequential place in the management and oversight groups (e.g. staff meetings) of the missions.
The most notable women-only organisation were of course the deaconess orders. These impacted on Methodism first through the Mildmay Deaconess Institution, founded in 1860, which attracted evangelicals from all denominations including Methodists. Specifically Methodist organisations followed on the same lines: the recruitment of Wesleyan Children’s Home sisters (from 1873) led to the foundation of the Deaconess House (later Institute) in 1890, and the formal constitution of the Deaconess Order – with a male Warden – in 1895. The UMFC opened a Deaconess Institution in Pimlico in 1892, and the Primitive Methodists in Southwark in 1900. Wesleyan missions in London and elsewhere recruited women – deaconesses when these became available – as part of their staff teams to carry out both social and evangelistic work. The Deaconess Orders were ultimately accountable to their respective Conferences, but the female Sisters-in-Charge of the various Deaconess Houses were responsible in practice for the training, stationing, probation and ongoing supervision of deaconesses as well as for the running and finance of the House itself.
5) The second half of the 19th century saw a marked increase in women’s preaching in some quarters of Methodism. The status of deaconess gave women a platform from which to exercise a leadership through preaching that was still highly controversial in society at large. Deaconesses were not necessarily expected to preach, but many of the Primitive Methodist sisters,
in a denomination where women’s preaching was still theoretically accepted, were preachers or exhorters. For Wesleyan women this opportunity was even more significant. In 1910 the Wesleyan Conference removed the restriction
of women’s preaching to their own sex, but other limitations (i.e. in their own circuit, by invitation) remained.
6) The question of women’s ministry was revived in this period. The Wesleyans and the UMFC were firmly opposed, while opinion in Primitive Methodism was divided. Discussion centred around women’s ‘essential nature’ and consequent suitedness to domestic and family environments. In 1899 the PM Conference saw its first woman member and one woman beginning to function, though unofficially, as an itinerant minister. The Bible Christians, who also retained women preachers, first admitted a woman into Full Connexion (i.e. gave her full ministerial status) in 1894. Only a few followed, and there was difficulty in stationing them. And when the Bible Christians entered, as the weakest partner, into negotiations to unite with the New Connexion and the UMFC (neither of whom officially recognised women preachers), women ministers were the inevitable casualty when the United Methodist Church came into being in 1907. 
7) In 1909 the Wesleyan Conference agreed to admit women representatives, and the first were present in 1911.