site stats
Rethinking Religious Gender Differences: The Case of Elite Women | Orestes Pat Hastings

Rethinking Religious Gender Differences: The Case of Elite Women

Abstract

Decades of research has suggested that women are much more religious than men. Yet our survey of 107 women and 362 men who are alumni of the White House Fellows program finds that elite women are less likely than elite men to report religion as being important to their lives. When focusing on the fellows who are women, we find that obtaining a graduate degree from a top university, being highly committed to one's work, and being recognized for success are all associated with a lower likelihood of rating religion as important. We elucidate some of these findings with analyses of in-depth interviews. We suggest that aspiring women may not benefit from religion the same way men do and that religion often fails to provide similar levels of support for elite women as for elite men. We conclude by arguing for finer-grained measures of professional accomplishment and social standing to better understand gender differences in religion.

Publication
Sociology of Religion
Date