Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Religion, gender, and risk aversion

Here's an interesting post by Kieran Healy about religion, gender, and risk aversion. (Thanks Jay!)

1 comment:

Jay Egenes said...

The post argues that it's clearly not risk aversion. So why are women more religious than men?

Pat Kiefert's Welcoming the Stranger suggests that it has to do with the privatization of religion.

In post-Enlightenment industrial societies we artificially divided the world up into public and private realms.
Men dealt with the "public" world--they went to work, dealt with the market place, public policy, etc.
Women stayed home, dealt with the family, the "private" world.

While this might sound archaic, it still has some truth to it. I know people who organize their life by "curb-in" and "curb-out". The wife is in charge of everything from the curb in, while the husband is in charge of everything from the curb out.

In post-Enlightenment thought, which emphasized rationality, religion got relegated to the "private" world, because it wasn't based on "public" facts that could be verified.

It was this social construct that created the difference in behavior between men and women. Because women were in charge of the "private" world, and religion was on the "private" side of the divide, women became more likely to be religious.