Years ago while living in northern Virginia, I was a mentor to a Muslim family that had been forced out of Iraqi Kurdistan. One of the things I noticed about them is they were rarely at the mosque. The women (and there were four daughters in this family) never went, except when they needed a marriage contract signed. The father occasionally attended.
Now, I’ve sat in the women’s sections of certain mosques and it’s not a great experience. You can’t see or hear a thing, it’s unbelievably crowded and there are small children racing around. No wonder my Kurdish female friends never went. Compare that to most churches I’ve visited where the majority of worshipers were women.
There's a story there.
So I was not surprised to read about this gender difference in a Religion News Service piece chronicling Pew survey data on the phenomenon. Here’s what it said:
(RNS) Fewer men than women show up in U.S. churches, and women are markedly more likely to pray and to hold up religion as important.
But in Muslim nations, it’s the women who are missing in action at the mosque -- and yet they’re on par with men in upholding almost all the Muslim pillars of faith.
Those are among the top findings in a new Pew Research study of the gender gap in religion, drawn from data in 192 nations, released Tuesday (March 22).
The overall conclusion: Women, particularly Christian, are generally more religious than men worldwide. An estimated 83 percent of women around the world identify with a faith group, compared with 80 percent of men, according to the report.
Now that 3.5 percent percentage point gap may not seem like much, but it means that 97 million more women than men worldwide identify with a faith group.