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The evolution of the gender religiosity gap among the Canadian-born

Maryam Dilmaghani ()

Review of Social Economy, 2019, vol. 77, issue 3, 361-392

Abstract: The higher religiosity of women in the Western Christian societies is one of the best documented findings in the religious scholarship. In spite of the recent vibrancy of secular movements in North America, the higher religiosity of women appears persistent. As a result, the gender ratio is greatly skewed in the secular groups in favour of males. For instance, for every atheist female in North America, there are at least three males. Using the Canadian General Social Surveys of 1985–2014, this paper examines how the gender religiosity gap has evolved among the Canadian-born. Throughout the period, Canadian-born women are found less likely to be unaffiliated and show a greater frequency of religious attendance. The religious attendance gap is found to be closing. The unaffiliation gap, on the other hand, seems to have widened in the 21st century. Limiting the analyses to the gainfully employed respondents only reduces the religious attendance gap. For the high earners, the attendance gap effectively disappears, while a large unaffiliation gap persists into the 2010s. This pattern is best explained by the recent literature asserting that men and women are differentially socially sanctioned for the adoption of a secularized identity. The alleged sexism of the new secular movements is also noted as a potential explanation. The examination of the recent Canadian data on perceived religious and gender discrimination produces evidence congruent with both of these potential explanations.

Date: 2019
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DOI: 10.1080/00346764.2018.1562198

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