Thursday, 7 April 2016

Men and women divide on religion

Fewer men than women show up in U.S. churches, and women are markedly more likely to pray and to hold up religion as important. But in Muslim nations, it’s the women who are missing in action at the mosque and yet they’re on par with men in upholding almost all the Muslim pillars of faith.

Those are among the top findings in a new Pew Research study of the gender gap in religion, drawn from data in 192 nations, released Tuesday (March 22). The overall conclusion: Women, particularly Christian, are generally more religious than men worldwide. An estimated 83 percent of women around the world identify with a faith group, compared with 80 percent of men, according to the report.

That’s not a conclusion people could reach by observation, say demographer Conrad Hackett and senior writer and editor Caryle Murphy, co-authors of the report.
“If you were a Christian woman in Kansas and you and your husband both go to church, you might think men and women are equally religious,” said Murphy.

That’s not so, she said. “We pray more than our male peers, we attend church more and we are more likely to say our religion is important to us,” she said. This same hypothetical American might also want to know about a Muslim neighbor down the street “who belongs to a faith where men and women are very much alike in their commitment,” said Murphy.

The only exception for Muslims, who make up 23 percent of the world population, is that men attend mosque more than women, said Hackett. Among the findings:
* In 61 of 192 countries studied, women are more likely than men to claim a religious identity.

 “There’s not always a huge difference but when there is a difference, it always favors women,” said Hackett. * The nones  people with no self-identified religious affiliation — are more likely to be men: 55 percent to 45 percent for women. * Religiosity lessens among Christian women as they move up the economic ladder.