Female Non-believers

So I was reading the Think Atheist Sunday School post for today and it referred me to a rather interesting article about non-believers of various titles and backgrounds.  I highly recommend reading it, the patterns are interesting.  But what stuck with me the most came in the very beginning.

“Consistent with prior research, nontheists in our study, and especially atheists, were most often young, male (74%, all nontheists; 82%, atheists), highly educated, liberal, and hostile to religion.”

Only one of those descriptors doesn’t apply to me, I am a woman.  (Note: I am working on the hostile towards religion thing, I swear.)  And if I had never read this I would never have known that I was such a minority within my minority.  Are there really so few female non-believers?  Further reading confirmed this fact but didn’t provide a good enough answer as to why.  Findings by the Pew Research Center show that overall women are more religious, are more certain about their belief in god, and pray/attend church more often.  There were two reoccurring explanations for this in the articles I read.

a) Motherhood: being a mother not only gives one a more flexible schedule to allow more involvement in church activities, but gives one a stronger role in the spiritual upbringing of children, thus strengthening one’s own beliefs.  (To the credit of this argument it is interesting that I am both an atheist and have been pretty outspoken about my desire to never have children since about the age of six-teen)

b) Risk Aversion: men are statistically more likely to take risks and decent from the norm than women

While both of these may have some valid insight as to why women are more religious than men they fail to answer my question of why more women aren’t atheist.  Women maybe the majority in religious circles but they only make up 52% of the national total, not nearly the same unbalance as within the circles of non-believers.  And what gets me about this is we have more reason to leave religion behind, or more to lose by continued faith simply because of our gender.  Misogyny is rampant both in the Bible and the Quran, everything to viewing a woman as unclean during her menstrual cycle or after child birth, to punishing them for sexual “misconduct” that the other party is completely pardoned for. I certainly understand just as well as the next person how much easier it is to go with the flow, or not question what has been serving you well enough thus far.  But I cannot understand why more women aren’t doing so, can anyone explain this to me?


~ by prettyprogressive on 09/26/2010.

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