Men, Women, Religion

December 21, 2008

While reading this piece (h/t Andrew) on religion and families, I found this curious link.  It, like its mention in the other article, has less in the way of answers than befuddlement, but it was still the most interesting part of Gottlieb’s piece, even though it was merely incidental.

I don’t have much in the way of thoughts; merely pointing toward them.  But I had noted from time to time that — outside of the Orthodox minyon (which I presume is roughly equal; I’m not certain), women outnumber men at services at school on Fridays and Saturdays.  I just thought it was a curious bit of student-body demography, but now I’m curious about whether it’s indicative of anything else.  Not that it’s going to stop the, “What do you mean we have a minyon?  There are only three men here!” jokes on Saturdays, just to see whose skin we can get under at 10 am.

There’s probably a correlation between higher religiosity in women and religious egalitarian movements.  And when you need ten men to hold the full service, and if men are dropping away but women still showing up, that may have something to do with it.  (I wonder if it got going faster/sooner in places with exceptionally small Jewish communities… I should try looking this up.)  Or, you know, it could have been feminism and equal rights and all that jazz.  Though in Louisville, it reputedly had a lot more to do with the older women simply deciding one day that they were not going to climb the stairs into the balcony anymore.  I think that service may have concluded in someone getting arrested; but this was sixtyish years ago, so I wouldn’t have been there.

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