An Anglican diocese that represents three small South American countries has broken with local tradition and is allowing women to be trained and ordained as priests.

The Diocese of Guyana said Tuesday that women in Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana are eligible. The announcement comes after years of lobbying by women in the church.

Religious leaders attending a two-day synod in Guyana approved the move Monday. Anglican and Catholic churches in those three countries have been losing ground to a growing evangelical movement in recent decades.

Dozens of women in other Anglican communities across the world have been ordained as priests and bishops.