Males, Females and Religion
The Boston Globe has a story that appears typical of religion in general, not just Judaism:
At the Reform movement’s seminary, 60 percent of the rabbinical students and 84 percent of those studying to become cantors are female. Girls are outnumbering boys by as much as 2 to 1 among adolescents in youth group programs and summer camps, while women outnumber men at worship and in a variety of congregational leadership roles, according to the Union for Reform Judaism.
The evidence is everywhere. At Temple Sinai in Sharon, nine of the 11 members of this year’s confirmation class were girls. At Temple Beth David in Canton, last Saturday’s Bible study drew 11 women and no men. At Temple Isaiah in Lexington, the executive board for the last year had eight women and one man. And at the Prozdor, an intensive supplementary high school program at Hebrew College in Newton, 59 percent of the students are female.
“After bar mitzvah, the boys just drop out,” said Sylvia Barack Fishman, a professor of contemporary Jewish life at Brandeis University and the coauthor of a study on “Gender Imbalance in American Jewish Life,” which was publicly released last week.
Some of the men might be driven away from Judaism in this instance because of petulance (We can’t run things so we’ll just leave!!), but that does nothing to explain why the pews (churches or synagogues) are more heavily populated by females than males. It has always been my impression that women are more religious than men; indeed, I suspect that a lot of male attendance at church is due to wives and mothers pressing them into it.
I haven’t seen a lot of research into this, and a quick Google search wasn’t all that helpful, but it would be interesting to check into. Are women more religious than men and if so, why?