Assess the relationship between gender and religion

Assess the relationship between gender and religion 33marks - Document in A Level and IB Sociology

assess the relationship between gender and religion

relationship between differential socialization and differential reli- giousness. and enduring question about gender and religion has languished: What . in this article we re-examine the socialization literature more carefully in order to. Assess the relationship between gender and religion 33marks. Got 30/ hope it helps. / 5. Created by: Sim; Created on: Assess the. The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World greater appreciation for the complexities of the relationship between gender and religion .. researchers were able to examine a larger number of countries by combining data.

At the present stage of humanity's global experience it is no longer possible to work with exclusive, hegemonic models of language, thought, or anything else, derived from only one gender. Historical descriptions, analyses, and theories need to take all genders and their differences into account, whether shaped by race, class, culture, religion, sexuality, or other identity markers. The theorization of multiple voices, of subjectivity and agency, of difference and identity, of standpoints and positionality, of liberation and transformation, is central to feminist thought.

Its debates have anticipated several of the critical stances of postmodernism in destabilizing categories and in arguing against essentialist and universalist stances. Feminists have pioneered new epistemological insights, not only in terms of what we know but how we come to know, how knowledge is constructed, psychologically as well as socially.

These theoretical advances of feminist theory have deeply influenced men's studies, leading to a new understanding of the construction of maleness, manhood, and masculinities. Both women's studies and men's studies, although approached from different gender perspectives, have to work in a gender-inclusive rather than gender-exclusive way in order to achieve further intellectual and social breakthroughs.

At present, however, maleness has not yet been theorized to the same extent as femaleness. Women's and men's studies in religion are both marked by critical and constructive approaches. There is the question of what remains usable of the past when religious texts and histories are reread from a critical gender perspective.

7. Theories explaining gender differences in religion | Pew Research Center

The impact of gender analysis, coupled with an ethical commitment to gender justice, will lead to a deconstruction as well as a reconstruction of religious traditions and practices.

At present this process has barely begun, and setbacks are unavoidable. Moreover, the deconstruction of an essentialist understanding of masculinity is only in its early stages Doty, ; Berger, Wallis, and Watson, More inclusive, critical "gender thinking" will therefore dislocate individual and social identities, creating the possibility for new social arrangements and new religious developments across the globe.

Men's studies in religion have produced innovative research on religion and masculinities, male sexuality and spirituality, and male identities and bodies in relation to the gender-sensitive understanding of God and divinities Eilberg-Schwartz, ; Boyd, Longwood, and Muesse, ; Krondorfer, ; Bradstock, Gill, Hogan, and Morgan,but there is still a long way to go before these developments catch up with women's studies in religion.

Yet further thinking is represented by queer theories, primarily debated within gay, lesbian, and feminist theologies dealing with sexuality and the production of raced and gendered bodies, much influenced by Michel Foucault 's influential work on the history of sexuality.

Such theories call into question how what counts as "normal" heterosexuality comes into existence, is legitimated and maintained as well as transgressed and subverted, so that concepts of identity, power, and resistance have to be critically reexamined. The "queering" of religion raises many ethical and theological questions, not fully discussed at present, so that it is still too early to predict whether queer thinking will have the same influence as feminist theories on what is a complex new field of scholarship in the study of religion sometimes also called LGBT studies, relating to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people with far more resources on the web than in existing gender studies on religion.

Such studies from radically different perspectives highlight in a new way how monotheistic systems are male dominated and heterosexually structured Boyarin, and how the "queering" of the body relates to wider issues of ordering gender relations, society, and configurations of power linked to ambiguous religious histories and teachings.

It is therefore to be welcomed that new body theologies are being developed from both male and female perspectives Nelson, ; Raphael, ; Isherwood and Stuart, These have their roots mainly in Christian thinking, but many other religious traditions possess rich resources for constructing alternative approaches to the body and its religious significance.

Kasulis and his colleagues. Contemporary Western discussions, marked by fluid postmodern instabilities and much experimentation, are continuously evolving in this area, so that new concepts such as "transgender" and "omnigender" are created to illuminate, and perhaps even to overcome, the multiple but still oppositional meanings of gender Mollenkott, Women's religious lives and roles in different religious traditions across the world, previously rarely examined at all, have now been studied from many different perspectives.

A pioneering publication was Unspoken Worlds: Women's Religious Lives Falk and Gross, eds. Several recurring themes reveal the ambiguities affecting the image of women cross-culturally, such as the widespread association of women with both evil through their body, sexuality, menstruation taboos, and death and wisdom; sex role reversals in mythical and other stories of gender conflict; the figure of the ideal and exceptional woman; and the existence of many female religious experts, recognized for their charismatic authority without, in most cases, holding official institutional roles.

Further evidence of casting women into particular stereotypes and make them submit to the moral rules of male-dominated society, often enforced by the teachings of religion, is provided by Female Stereotypes in Religious Traditions Kloppenborg and Hanegraaff, eds, An absolutely indispensable reference work, and pioneering achievement, is the two-volume Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion Young, ed.

There exists no comparable reference work yet that offers a similar summation of gender studies and men's studies in religion.

Several feminist scholars have attempted feminist reconstructions of religious traditions as different as Judaism, Buddhism, and Sikhism, as well as Christianity, and the number of gender-critical studies on Islam and other traditions is also steadily growing. Some essay collections reflect constructive efforts in reinterpreting several religious traditions Cooey, Eakin, and McDaniel,but most feminist challenges have been addressed to Judaism and Christianity, especially in North America and Europe.

The rise of ever newer forms of feminist theologies has spawned remarkable voices of difference, from womanist to mujerista and Asian-American theologies, which have given birth to women doing Christian theology around the whole world, from Asia to Africa, Australia to Latin AmericaEurope to North America.

The most challenging theoretical questions facing feminism and gender studies, admittedly from a largely Western point of view, are discussed in Feminism in the Study of Religion: A Reader Juschka, ed. The pluralism of methods and interpretive strategies in current gender thinking on different religious experiences, texts, histories, and practices is evident from Gender, Religion and Diversity: Cross-Cultural Perspectives King and Beattie, eds.

By taking up a self-reflexive, critical position, several contributors to this volume, both female and male, show that these debates are more than sophisticated academic arguments; in practical terms they involve a strong commitment to gender justice and social transformation, whether in Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, or Islam in different parts of the world.

This is not the place to pursue a trenchant critique of the androcentrism and defectiveness of previous scholarship, but the above examples provide ample evidence that now, when women are no longer merely occasional objects of male inquiry but have acquired the necessary academic education, professional training, and expertise to pursue the study of religion at all levels, they have increasingly become scholars in their own right who critically examine themselves as objects of analysis and debate.

This historically recent development has led to new questions in the study of religion, which in turn have produced masses of new data and theories, opening up yet more new research fields. With the arrival of gender studies, this process has crossed yet another threshold of complexity that will contribute to an eventual thorough remapping of the entire field of religion and radically alter some of its underlying research presuppositions.

The influential paradigm established by Mircea Eliadereflected in the very existence of this encyclopedia, has received much scholarly comment and criticism, but these have not yet thoroughly addressed the hidden gender imbalances and implicit androcentrism of his entire oeuvre. Except for some brief essays King, ; Christ, Significant Research Themes A critical analysis of religious texts, histories, and historiographies in terms of their embedded "lenses of gender" whether androcentrism, essentialism, or gender polarization raises some intriguing issues.

These can be grouped into three systematic clusters of research themes that contemporary scholars pursue from historical, phenomenological, philosophical, and comparative perspectives. Related to external and internal aspects of religion, these topics reveal the interstructured personal and institutional dynamics of power, authority, and gendered hierarchies that have patterned religious life in many different and often subtly invisible ways throughout history.

The first cluster concerns primarily, though not exclusively, the social and institutional aspects of religion with regard to the respective roles and status that different religious traditions accord to men and women.

assess the relationship between gender and religion

What access do women have to full participation in religious life, to religious authority and leadership, when compared with that of men?

Have women formed distinct religious communities and rites of their own where their independent authority is acknowledged and not abrogated by male hierarchical structures? Are specific religious rites gender inclusive or exclusive, and which are the ones that exclude either women or men?

Do both sexes have the authority to teach and interpret the foundational texts and central practices of the tradition? Comparative historical studies show that generally women hold higher positions in archaic, tribal, and noninstitutionalized religions than in highly differentiated traditions that have evolved complex structures and hierarchical organizations over a long period of time.

Women magicians, shamans, healers, visionaries, prophetesses, and priestesses are found in primal and ancient religions, and in tribal and folk religions today.

Women religious founders and leaders are comparatively rare. They are more prominent in new religious movements that have come into existence in quite different religious and cultural contexts since the nineteenth century e. Women can rise to religious leadership more easily within small religious groups outside the mainstream tradition, but modernity has also created space for many new religious roles within the mainstream Wessinger, The charismatic, rather than institutional, authority of women is recognized in both traditional and new religionsbut today a greater number of women religious leaders and teachers exist than in the past Puttick, ; Puttick and Clarke, Several Christian denominations now ordain women as priests, and modern Hinduism knows of many women gurus, such as Ananda Mayi Ma and others.

The second cluster of research themes centers on the fluid area of religious language and thought, raising challenging questions about the entire symbolic order and the role of the imaginary in religion. How are male and female gender differences discursively constructed, culturally inscribed, and socially reproduced? Do different sacred scriptures and religious traditions project images of women as strong and powerful as those of men? Or does their language remain exclusive and androcentric, subordinating, disempowering, excluding, and oppressing women?

What are the gendered patterns and symbols of their language of creation and salvation? How are the sacred, ultimate reality and the divine conceptualized, and how is feminine and masculine sacrality understood and valued? The evaluative gender hierarchy of religious language is equally inscribed in religious attitudes to the body, sexuality, and spirituality for Jewish perspectives on body, sexuality, and gender see Eilberg-Schwartz, ; for Christian perspectives see Brown, ; Thatcher and Stuart, ; the gendered patterns of relations between sexuality and the sacred are richly documented by Nelson and Longfellow, ; Raphael, The widespread sacralization of virginity, and the spiritually privileged position accorded to asceticism and monasticism in many religions, especially in Jainism, Buddhism, and Catholic Christianity, have fueled profoundly misogynist views in the gender dynamics of numerous religious traditions, but a comparative-critical study of these phenomena from a self-reflexive gender perspective still remains to be written.

The narrow prison of gender symbols encloses the historically and socially located human perceptions of divine immanence and transcendence. Dominant androcentric images of God have been symbols of power and oppression not only for many women but also for many colonial people.

Now recognized as limiting rather than liberating, they are radically called into question by contemporary theologians of both sexes, especially Jewish and Christian feminists. Where are the symbols and images of a feminine Divine, the female figures of wisdom, of the Spirit?

Analyzing religious texts and teachings from a female gender perspective can lead to surprising new insights into human experience of the Divine, whether in gendered patterns of mystical experience or in the intimate presence of the Spirit within our bodies and in the natural world, as recognized by contemporary ecofeminism and the new ecofeminist spirituality Adams, ; Cuomo, Discussions about the possibility and necessity of a divine feminine, accompanied by a revalorization of the body and the maternal, take central place in the lively debates of contemporary critical philosophers and theologians Jantzen, These have been much influenced by the linguistic turn of postmodernism and the rise of psycholinguistics, especially its revolutionary use by French feminist theorists Irigaray, Kristeva, Cixous, and otherswhich has strongly impacted Western philosophers of religion Anderson, ; Jantzen, ; Joy, O'Grady, and Poxon, Feminist philosophers of religion are now engaged in sharply critiquing a traditionally almost exclusively male discipline shaped by problematic biases of gender, race, class, and sexual orientation.

Different feminist theologians and biblical scholars have also taken up the topic of gender with much vigor see Sawyer, God, Gender and the Bible, A third cluster of research questions relates to the usually least visible except for outward religious practices, and perhaps also spirit possessionthe most internal, personal aspects of religion, that is to say religious and mystical experiences.

How far are these differently engendered? To what extent are their occurrences, descriptions, images, and symbols gender specific? Are men's perception and pursuit of spirituality often quite different from women's spirituality? These questions can be applied to both the continuing and cumulative experience of ordinary day-to-day religious practice and to the extraordinary experiences of religious virtuosi, such as saints and mystics. Most religions seem to validate the ordinary lives of women in terms of domestic observances and family duties rather than encourage their search for religious knowledge and spiritual perfection.

How far do different traditions prohibit or encourage women to seek a spiritual space of their own and follow demanding spiritual disciplines in the same way as men?

assess the relationship between gender and religion

By rejecting traditional sociobiological gender roles through becoming ascetics, yoginis, sannyasinis, or nuns, Jaina, Buddhist, and Christian women have pursued nontraditional, and sometimes extraordinary, paths of spiritual devotion and attainment, although the gendering of Hindu renunciation is a mostly modern phenomenon Khandelwal, Women had to struggle to create their own religious communities; their gender always provoked male resistance to their claim to autonomy and power, so that their activities remained controlled and constrained by male hierarchies.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the rich lives of Christian nuns in whose cloisters and convents appeared outstanding women scholars, mystics, artists, political activists, healers, and teachers over many centuries, whose biographies often reflect intensive gender struggles over power and authority McNamara,also evident from the critical study of Christian mysticism Jantzen, It is especially the area of women's religious experience, in both the ordinary sense of religious devotions and duties and the special sense of a particular religious calling, that provides a rich field for contemporary research.

It is important to investigate also the strongly affirmative and life-sustaining resources that countless women have found through the ages, and still find today, in a faith transmitted to them through the beliefs, practices, and spiritual heritage of a specific religious tradition. Such research provides a counterbalance to the more restrictive and oppressive role that religion has played in many women's lives.

Moving from religious experience and practice to the systematic articulations of faith that produced a wealth of philosophical and theological learning in all religious traditions, we largely meet worlds without women, as is all too evident from sacred and scholarly literatures, official histories of religious institutions, and more recently the historiographies and research monographs of Western scholars of religion King, Women's religious worlds, experiences, and thought have on the whole made few contributions to these developments until the modern period.

assess the relationship between gender and religion

Gender studies and other intellectual advances have awakened us to such important themes as self and subjectivity; human identity and representation; authority and power relations; masculinity and femininity; body, sexuality and spirituality; and how to think and speak of ultimate reality and human destiny, of individuals and community, in a newly gendered, and sometimes transgendering, way.

Feminist theologians and thealogians have reimaged God and Goddess or explored affinities with process thought Christ, ; they have suggested alternative conceptualizations using androgynous and monistic models for ultimate reality; they have reshaped religious rites and invented new ones through creating either separate women's rituals or more inclusive liturgies. Many contemporary changes in religious practice are the result of an altered gender awareness, but many further social and institutional transformations of a more substantial kind are still needed.

Discussions about the relationship between immanent, contingent gender experiences and perceptions of transcendence and divine otherness, or the nature of the sacred and numinous, continue unabated. However, too often these are still predicated on an essentialist dualism between the spirit as masculine and the body, whether female or male, as feminine, and they often perpetuate the traditional appropriation of the realm of transcendence and the spirit by men.

The above discussion of a wide range of research themes shows that a rereading of religions from a critical gender perspective reveals the existence of gendered texts and traditions, gendered hierarchies of power, gendered symbols of the sacred, gendered bodies and minds. The analysis of this wealth of new material is a truly daunting task and remains an ongoing one.

assess the relationship between gender and religion

There also arises the central question of whether gender studies in religion will be able to make a significant contribution to creating a postpatriarchal world by moving from dualistic and exclusive gender constructions to new social projects of gender reconciliation, implying profound personal and social transformations.

Difference can mean many things; among others it can stand for a multiplicity of voices and meanings, for varied subject positions of the same individual, or it can negate the possibility of any particular authoritative account. It thus undercuts any essentialist position in debates about race, gender, and ethnicity.

Difference carries negative value baggage, while diversity differentials are captured by difference. The trick is to recognize difference as a fragmentation into insignificant units of resistance. By holding onto a concept of difference nuanced by a concept of diversity, significant political and intellectual action against oppression remains effective.

The recognition of diversity has led to the realization that everywhere pluralities abound whereas singularity is rare. Thus, gender studies, feminisms, feminist theologies, sexualities, spiritualities, and many other categories are now more often expressed in the plural rather than the singular. Difference is also correlated with "otherness," not only that of different experiences and social locations, of gender orientations and identities, but the multiple "otherness" of religious differences within and across specific cultures; there is the diversity of methods and approaches in understanding such differences; there is the "otherness" of one gender to another, especially the "otherness" of women for men, as traditionally understood.

The social and political violence exercised by the West toward the "otherness" of "non-Western" cultures, whether through imperialism, orientalism, or neocolonialism, has come under fierce criticism that also impacts the gender and religion debate Armour, ; Donaldson and Kwok, The history and concerns of feminist theory have to some extent paralleled those of postcolonial theory.

Writing from the perspective of postcoloniality, feminist researchers perceive woman as a "colonized" subject relegated, like subject people of former colonies, to the position of "other" under various forms of patriarchal domination. The "epistemological violence" of Western religious and theological discourse toward other cultures and religions has come under fierce critique, as have debates about racial differences, which are being subverted through critiquing whiteness and its false neutrality, theorizing white also as "race" or de-emphasizing the importance of the category of "race" altogether.

The essentialist understanding of race characterizes what is now called Whitefeminism, and new critiques of limited, essentialist perspectives of Whitefeminist theory and Whitefeminist theology, as well as religious studies theory, are being developed Armour, ; Keller, One can argue, especially from the universalist, inclusive vision inherent in many religions, that there exists only one race, and that is the human race.

One of the most significant issues is who has been counted as "human" in the past and who was marginalized as "other," "outsider," "barbarian," and "nonhuman. Contemporary discussions are deeply affected by the processes of globalization, which produce transformative resources for religious worldviews, interreligious contacts and communication, and the international study of religions.

Many of these depend on the globally diffused use of English, criticized by some as neocolonial form of dominance. These arguments are also present in gender debates, since more writings and scholarly communications about gender and its relevance for religion take place in English than in any other language.

In postcolonial writing the "alchemy of English" Kachru, is widely debated. Its usefulness as a non-native medium of communication is its perceived "neutrality" in that it cannot be automatically aligned with particular indigenous religious or ethnic factions, and therefore can be used just as much for imparting local, non-Western values as Western values.

Thus, it is rather one-sided to see this hegemony of one Western language above others mainly negatively, for the global use of English can also be valued positively as an enabling means of wider communication and an empowering challenge for social and personal transformation.

In the gender debate, people whose mother tongue is not English may initially feel at a disadvantage, but native English speakers are not necessarily better off, because a critical gender awareness always requires a new perception and the learning of a new vocabulary, linked to new attitudes and changed practices.

Learning to make the "gender-critical turn" is an ongoing self-reflective process that everyone who embarks on the exciting journey of gender exploration must undergo, whatever their language. These multiple new perspectives, now increasingly subsumed under "postcolonial studies," have spawned lively controversies on race, gender, ethnicity, nationalism, orientalism, discourse, body, and other topics, creating numerous formulations of hybridity rather than genuinely correlative or integral frameworks.

These controversial ideas have also considerably influenced religious studies theory, although it is presently impossible to assess whether this tendency to identify ever more differences will have any lasting intellectual or practical impact on gender and race relations. Concepts of difference and diversity are also much discussed by feminist theologians seeking to account more appropriately for religious diversity and pluralism in feminist theological discourse.

Many further issues, whether theoretical or praxis-oriented, can only find brief mention. The influential critical theory of the Frankfurt School has itself been critiqued by feminists for its gender essentialism, although its male practitioners provide valuable insights into woman-as-object of masculine thought. Challenging the oversights of critical theory, Marsha Hewitt contends that it nonetheless possesses considerable emancipatory potential for feminist theology and religious theorists.

Yet one can also argue that excessively complex theoretical elaborations remain ultimately barren and are just another example of the violence of abstraction.

Faith-engaged activists in different religious groups and basic communities are consciously praxis-oriented in fighting the gendered pattern of violence against actual human beings, so starkly apparent in numerous contemporary conflict and war situations. The study of gender, religion, and violence has attracted increasing interest, and so has the topic of human rights and religion, including a growing awareness of women's human rights in relation to their religious traditions and cultures, whether Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, or other Jeffery and Basu, ; King, ; Svenson, The Malaysian scholar-activist Sharon Bong argues that although problematic in challenging the secularity of human rights discourse, it is essential, in fact "a moral and political imperative to negotiate women's human rights with cultures and religions," in order to complement other strategies for their empowerment Bong,p.

Also of great concern is the topic of religious fundamentalism, where research is only beginning to pay attention to gender differences, especially how women are affected by fundamentalist teachings and practices of different religions Hawley, ; Howland, and the efforts made by conservative and Christian evangelical groups in redefining traditional gender roles in the light of changing social practices DeBerg, Randi Warne concludes one of her gender articles by saying: As long as we distinguish humans as "women" and "men," and as long as these distinctions carry symbolic meaning and cultural authority which shape human life possibilities, the concept of gender will be essential to any adequate analysis of religion.

Gender as an analytical category, and gendering as a social practice, are central to religion, and the naturalization of these phenomena and their subsequent under-investigation have had a deleterious effect on the adequacy of the scholarship that the scientific study of religion has produced. Until the scientific study of religion becomes intentionally gender-critical in all of its operations, it will unwittingly reproduce, reify and valorize the nineteenth-century gender ideology which marks its origins, rendering suspect any claims to the scientific generation of reliable knowledge it seeks to make.

The reworking of language, thought, and theories, of knowledge and scholarship, are essential, but not sufficient, for creating a profoundly different, more gender-just and equitable world for all humans peopling this globe. To rethink sex, gender, and religion, we have to imagine that creative alternatives are available and that a nonhierarchical, more caring and participatory world can come into existence that is not aligned along a single, masculine model of sameness, but offers more spaces for rich cultural and religious differentiation.

I agree with Christine Delphy that "perhaps we shall only really be able to think about gender on the day when we can imagine non-gender" quoted in Juschka,p.

The rich variety of gender entries on specific religious traditions that follow this article amply demonstrates that critical, transformative gender perspectives now affect the study of all religions and are consciously being taken up cross-culturally by scholars of both genders. Their research has created challenging perspectives of enquiry and produced a wealth of new scholarly work, as is evident from the following bibliography and those supplied on each religious tradition.

The problematic nature of masculine gender constructions is discussed in Maurice Berger, Brian Wallis, and Simon Watson, eds. For a provocative philosophical enquiry into gender dualities and the gender system in relation to conceiving humanity and the communal project of democracy, see Steven G. Smith, Gender Thinking Philadelphia, Upper Saddle River, N.

For historical and descriptive details on women in different religious traditions, see the series edited by Arvind Sharma and Katherine K. Often-cited readers that have assumed the status of classics, with mostly material on Judaism, Christianity, and new religions in the West, are Womanspirit Rising: Feminist Reader in Religion, 2d ed.

Essays by Founding Mothers of the Movement, 2d ed. Other Works Darlene M. A Reader London and New York, An indispensable collection of articles dealing with wide theoretical issues, from women doing the study of religion to critical discourses, race, gender, sexuality, and class.

Key texts from the last thirty years, grouped thematically, and introduced by excellent discussions on the impact of feminism on the study of religion. A wide-ranging selection of textual sources on women in different sacred writings. Encyclopedia of Women and World Religion, 2 vols. A superb reference work for first orientation; contains rich bibliographical sources on the fast-growing field of women's and feminist studies in religion.

The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World

The premier journal disseminating feminist scholarship in religion is the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, published twice a year since spring It now invites "a variety of contributions that focus on women's experience or on gender as a category of analysis, and that further feminist theory, consciousness, and practice" Spring Researchers began to find that while women generally were more religious than men, this was not always the case.

More than three decades of research have yielded a large quantity of data and a greater appreciation for the complexities of the relationship between gender and religion — complexities reflected in the data presented in this report. But a definitive, empirically based explanation of why women generally tend to be more religious than men remains elusive. The explanations generally fall into three broad categories: By inference, women are more religious because they have less risk-promoting testosterone.

They noted that men appear to have a greater innate tendency to take risks, and therefore are more willing than women to gamble that they will not face punishment in the afterlife. As a result, men are less religious. Since women are generally more risk-averse, this theory posits, they turn to religion to avoid eternal punishment or to secure a place in heaven. Ellison of the University of Texas at San Antonio argue for more exploration of genetic factors.

Montgomery of the University of Wisconsin postulate that psychological differences could throw light on gender differences in religiosity. They advocate for more research into which psychological aspects are most influential on religious devotion and how differences are shaped by genes and social environments. As women become more like men in activities outside the home, they theorize, women also may become more similar in levels of religiousness. Indeed, the authors speculate that the religious gender gap may eventually disappear entirely, as gender roles become more alike and gender equality becomes more commonplace: Indeed, they find that full-time female workers are not only less religious than women who do not work, but also display a religious orientation similar to men.

He suggests that women in the labor force, particularly those in high-paying, full-time jobs, are less religious because they receive less social validation and affirmation from religious congregations compared with women who follow more gender-typical roles and expectations.

Social scientists David Voas, Siobhan McAndrew and Ingrid Storm, who are at the University College London and the Universities of Bristol and Manchester, respectively, argue that in Europe, the gender gap decreases but does not disappear with modernization. But they contend that the narrowing gap is due more to rising national income per capita than to secularization or growing gender equality. Despite the vast social changes and gender role transformations of recent decades, the religious gender gap persists in many societies.

As a result, contemporary scholars of religion seem increasingly to be converging on a consensus that the religious gender gap most likely arises from a complicated mix of multiple factors.

Assess the relationship between gender and religion 33marks

One theory discussed in Chapter 7 on why women generally tend to be more religious than men is that, in many societies, women are less likely than men to work in the labor force, a social role that some studies find is associated with lower levels of religious commitment.

Scholars note that a focus solely on home management, which involves more attention and time spent raising children and caring for sick or elderly relatives, appears to encourage stronger religious commitment and more frequent religious activity.

assess the relationship between gender and religion

Work also offers alternatives around which to construct personal and community identities. In addition, it can broaden horizons beyond the family, exposing people to new ideas and ways of life that can challenge traditional religious dogma.