Beliefs in Society - Gender

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  • Created on: 27-03-15 09:08

Gender differences in Religion

Walter: takes three dimensions of religiosity: churchgoing, private prayer and the content of belief. He sees that in churchgoing, women overwhelmingly outnumber men as in 2005, 1.8 million churchgoers were women compared to 1.36 million that were men.
For belief, more women believe in God than men do. He suggests that women believe in a God of love, comfort and forgiveness whereas men believe in a God of power and control.
He sees the extent of private prayer increasing so suggests that the predominance of women in religious behaviour will also continue to grow.

Davie: Suggests that the proximity of women to birth and death may play and important role in explaining gender differences in religiosity. Few women give birth without any reflection on the mystery of creation.

Miller and Hoffman: Argue that the differences are due to the way women are socialised into society. They argue that women are taught to be more passive, obedient and caring, and that it is these characteristics that attract women to religion.

Weber: Argues that women turn to religion to compensate for their underprivileged in a patriarchal society. 

Bruce: Argues that as religion declines in society (secularisation) and society becomes more individual, because women are more likely to be in the home may attract them more to private, more personal forms of practice.

Hawley: Points out that many fundamentalisms are very masculine and appear to want to return to a ‘golden age’ of stable, traditional gender roles.

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Gender differences in Religion

Hawley: Points out that many fundamentalisms are very masculine and appear to want to return to a ‘golden age’ of stable, traditional gender roles. 

Glock and Stark: Women’s higher level of sect membership could be explained by the idea of a compensation for deprivation. They believe that women suffer from three types of deprivation that sect membership compensates for, these are: Organismic deprivation (physical/mental health problems), Ethical deprivation (women are more conservative than men), Social deprivation (women are poorer than men).

Bruce: The caring image of many New Age movements attracts women. He argues that men wish to achieve, women wish to feel.

Brown: Women are drawn to New Age movements because they are self-religions that emphasize subjective experience rather than authority.

Brierley: Points out that women are now leaving the church at a faster rate than men and notes that there has been a drastic decline in churchgoing among women ages 30-45. He suggests that the pressure of the home, family and work are intense for these women. However he also suggests it could be that women are rejecting the traditional authority of the church.

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