March 24, 2016

A religious gender gap for Christians, but not for Muslims

Gender gap in worship service attendance differs between Muslim-majority and Christian-majority countries

One of the most striking findings in a new Pew Research Center analysis of survey and census data on gender and religion is that while Christian women are on the whole more religious than Christian men, Muslim women and Muslim men have similar levels of religious commitment. And when it comes to attendance at worship services, Muslim men are more active than Muslim women.

This assessment emerges from data collected in scores of predominantly Muslim and predominantly Christian countries comparing men and women on several key measures of religious commitment. For instance, Christian women report praying daily more frequently than Christian men by an overall average of 10 percentage points (61% vs. 51%) across 54 countries where data are available. In some countries, the gap is much bigger, ranging up to 25 percentage points in Greece. By contrast, Muslim women are about as likely as Muslim men to report praying daily as (72% vs. 71%) across 40 countries where data are available.

Among Christians, women are more religious than men on all measures; gender gaps among Muslims are less consistent

Christian women also are more likely than Christian men – by an average of 7 percentage points (68% vs. 61%) – to say religion is “very important” to them. In some nations, such as Peru, Chile and the U. S., this gap expands to 10 percentage points, and in South Korea it reaches 23 points.

But among Muslims, there is no difference between the shares of Muslim women and Muslim men (76% vs. 76%) who say religion is very important to them across 38 of the 40 countries with data on this measure of commitment.

Another area where Christians and Muslims differ is attendance at worship services. Many more Muslim men than Muslim women (70% vs. 42%) report attending services weekly across the 39 countries with data on this subject, leading to a large average gender difference of 28 percentage points. Greater attendance levels among Muslim men are due in large part to the fact that in most Islamic countries, Muslim men are expected to attend Friday midday prayers in a mosque, while women are not. Women can fulfill their prayer obligation individually, either inside or outside the mosque.

When it comes to attendance among Christians, however, Christian women are more likely than Christian men – by an average of 7 percentage points (53% vs. 46%) – to report attending services weekly across 53 countries where data exist on this subject.

Topics: Christians and Christianity, Gender, Muslims and Islam, Religion and Society, Religious Beliefs and Practices

  1. is a senior writer/ editor focusing on religion at Pew Research Center.

3 Comments

  1. Anonymous4 months ago

    But pew don’t understand . Christian men and Christian women have church house everday ! . especially Indonesia , China , Taiwan , Korea , Japan , Mongolia , Turki , Israel , Arab , UEA , Yaman , and Aljazair . Pew must understand any Christian people have Church unknown because for defense from muslim government or other look like China . China have 259 million Christian people

  2. Mark Smith6 months ago

    Could it be the more a religion provides the legitimacy for control over every aspect of women’s lives particularly a woman’s sexuality the more ‘religious’ are the Males of any such culture will be as the Males will necessarily need to combine together en mass to preserve that which could not otherwise be preserved?

  3. Kaniss kanis6 months ago

    We have created a sort of „world religion survey” website: thisreligion.com

    The main goal is to engage people and make them think for a while about religion.

    Due to recent tense situation across the whole Europe, this website can be used as a religion “barometer”

    Please use this website and the app as you feel.

    Best,
    Michael