The Effect of Employment

Luckman (1967) suggested that those most involved in religion are women, especially those not at work, together with the old and young, who are also not at work. There are a number of reasons why women who are not at work should be more active in religion—they have more time, they may feel that they are not filling a valued social role or feel socially isolated, they have narrower social contacts and so are under less secular pressure, and they have less conflict with worldly instrumental activities (de Vaus, 1984). Large-scale surveys show that it is indeed the case that women at work are less active in religion, though not very much less (de Vaus, 1984; Gee, 1991). But how about men—should employment status affect them equally? In an Australian study, de Vaus and McAllister (1987) found that employment was a powerful explanatory variable for female ritual attendance after many controls had been used; it explained a little over half the variance. However, this does not explain the other half of sex differences in religion; when men and women both work, the sex ratio is smaller, but it is not one.

However, the main problem concerns men. In a large-scale American study (de Vaus, 1984) it was found that men were less religious the less they worked, as was also found by Hertel (1988) with data from 14,900 people. The opposite effects of work on attendance for men and women may be because those who play the usual gender roles also play conventional religious ones (Steggarda, 1993). Perhaps women who are independent and assertive enough to go to work are by temperament less attracted to religion, as a later theory will explain. Perhaps men who are out of work are too demoralized to attend religious services. Part of the explanation is simpler—unemployed men are less educated and of lower social class, two groups which are less religious (Hertel, 1988). According to deprivation-frustration theories of religion they should attend religious services more often, but they do not.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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