Do Women Have a Prayer?

Publication: USA Today

Author: Mary Zeiss Stange


03/23/2009 - When it comes to being religious, do women have a prayer? The Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life certainly thinks they do. In anticipation of Women's History Month, the Pew Forum in late February released a report that suggested women "outperform" men in several key measures of religious belief and practice. Working from data collected for the Forum's massive 2008 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, the Pew Forum came up with several significant gender differences.

Most striking among the findings are that women are far more apt to believe with absolute certainty in a God or universal spirit, as well as to believe that this supreme being is a personal one. More American women than men are affiliated with a religion. Two-thirds of women say religion is a very important factor in their lives, as opposed to roughly half of men — percentages that are about the same for those who say they pray on a daily basis. Forty-four percent of women attend weekly religious services, as opposed to just a third of men.

One would think that these facts would translate into women's rise to positions of spiritual leadership — surely the mark of genuine equality — in the various denominations. Alas, as a glance at some of the largest organized religious groups in the country shows, the picture is at best mixed when it comes to women's ability to break that stained-glass ceiling.

Read the full article Do Women Have a Prayer? on USA Today's Web site.

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