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Sexism in churches is harmful to women's health, new study says


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Haven’t read it yet.  Do they specifically reference Latter-day Saints?  Just curious. 

Edited by Calm
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1 hour ago, Calm said:

Haven’t read it yet.  Do they specifically reference Latter-day Saints?  Just curious. 

Yes, they are mentioned twice: as among the list of denominations included in the study.

And in this paragraph:

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How might sexism in religious institutions disproportionally undermine women’s health? Religion may differentially affect the health of men and women through several institutional and non-institutional mechanisms. Indeed, religious institutions often dictate that men and women occupy separate domains both inside and outside of the church. Despite making up the majority of religious affiliates (Baker and Whitehead 2016), women are often prohibited from top organizational leadership positions, particularly within gender-traditional religions like conservative Protestantism, Orthodox Judaism, and Mormonism (Burke 2012). Currently, only around 15 percent of U.S. congregations are led by a woman (Chaves 2017; Chaves and Anderson 2008). The vast majority of these congregations are within the mainline Protestant tradition, which includes denominations such as The United Church of Christ, The United Methodist Church, American Baptist Churches USA, The Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (Ferguson 2018). 

 

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A question was recently asked on a podcast recommended to me (that I’m not interested in continuing to listen to fwiw)-

How might girls/women have been affected developmentally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, if there were a more equal distribution of leadership in our church?

 (I personally do not post this question with the intention of challenging whether or not women should have the priesthood. Personally I don’t believe that. In fact I do think women have as much intrinsic power as men do, but I do not believe that we enact it nor that we recognize it, nor is it recognized by men as a whole. I also believe there’s plenty of room that is not used for women to hold positions of leadership and not just over women and children)

I post this question simply because it stirred some thought for me around what I have simply accepted as a lifetime member of the church, vs what is the reality of impact of the way things are. 

Edited by MustardSeed
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Posted (edited)
29 minutes ago, MustardSeed said:

A question was recently asked on a podcast recommended to me (that I’m not interested in continuing to listen to fwiw)-

How might girls/women have been affected developmentally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, if there were a more equal distribution of leadership in our church?

 (I personally do not post this question with the intention of challenging whether or not women should have the priesthood. Personally I don’t believe that. In fact I do think women have as much intrinsic power as men do, but I do not believe that we enact it nor that we recognize it, nor is it recognized by men as a whole. I also believe there’s plenty of room that is not used for women to hold positions of leadership and not just over women and children)

I post this question simply because it stirred some thought for me around what I have simply excepted as a lifetime member of the church, vs what is the reality of impact of the way things are. 

Those are good questions.

Humans are wonderfully adaptive, so much so that we may not realize how much we're adjusting for a deficit. For example, we had some very lean years early on in our marriage. We'd gone without nice things for so long that by the time we had a much better income, it took years before I felt comfortable buying some things we actually needed. 

Regarding the church, I think I felt like I was completely content with the complementary sexism of its structure, despite now being aware of real ways it negatively affected me. 

 

Edited by Meadowchik
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Don't forget the worse self-reported health is only in comparison to "inclusive" religions. There is no difference in self-reported health compared to non-religious adherents. They surmise that religion stuff gives them a benefit, but that benefit is offset by sexism related decreases.

Frequency of attendance also had no effect, only whether they attend or not.

 

Edited by JustAnAustralian
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7 hours ago, Meadowchik said:

When Religion Hurts: Structural Sexism and Health in Religious Congregations, by Patricia Homan and Amy Burdette, 

American sociological review, 2021-04, Vol.86 (2), p.234-255

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........the relationship between structural sexism and health. This work shows that structural sexism—defined as systematic gender inequality in power and resources—within U.S. state-level institutions and within marriages can shape individuals’ physical health........

........................

Why then do women tend to live so much longer than men?  Or is it only the women in traditional churches who suffer shortened lives?

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Our religion is inherently sexist.  It was based on sexism and continues. The church is in a deep hole at the moment with women feeling dissatisfied with the church and stepping away. The church is trying to bail water out of the sinking boat by changing temple ceremonies, calling sisters to positions similar to the 70s, allowing women to pray in conference (2013), allowing women to act as witnesses, and allowing young women to hand out towels at temple baptisms. 

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1 hour ago, JustAnAustralian said:

Jesus and all 12 of his original apostles were male. If there is sexism it predates us by about 1800 years.

I'd say before that, as the Old Testament is mostly about men. 

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2 hours ago, 2BizE said:

Our religion is inherently sexist.  It was based on sexism and continues. The church is in a deep hole at the moment with women feeling dissatisfied with the church and stepping away. The church is trying to bail water out of the sinking boat by changing temple ceremonies, calling sisters to positions similar to the 70s, allowing women to pray in conference (2013), allowing women to act as witnesses, and allowing young women to hand out towels at temple baptisms. 

K. 

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3 hours ago, 2BizE said:

Our religion is inherently sexist.  It was based on sexism and continues. The church is in a deep hole at the moment with women feeling dissatisfied with the church and stepping away. The church is trying to bail water out of the sinking boat by changing temple ceremonies, calling sisters to positions similar to the 70s, allowing women to pray in conference (2013), allowing women to act as witnesses, and allowing young women to hand out towels at temple baptisms. 

I thought that the LDS faith (and even other Christian faiths) was based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Are you saying that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is inherently sexist?  What of the false claim that women are dissatisfied with the LDS Church and are stepping away?   I know of no evidence to support that odd claim.  Indeed, men are far more likely to apostatize than women.  It it is such a satisfyingly male-gendered church, why isn't it more attractive to men than to women?

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20 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

I thought that the LDS faith (and even other Christian faiths) was based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Are you saying that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is inherently sexist? 

This may be an attempt to force a conclusion. If so, it is a method I consider with strong skepticism.

I have found integrity in considering each each facet on it's own merits. If I find disharmony between them, it is often because I lack the wisdom of a larger picture that can reconcile everything.

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32 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Indeed, men are far more likely to apostatize than women.  It it is such a satisfyingly male-gendered church, why isn't it more attractive to men than to women?

This seems sound. I suspect men are more likely to leave because we like to fix things - and there is a mindset that changes that aren't explicitly mandated are somehow a threat.

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19 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Also, what is the "health benefit" the women either get or don't?  Did they ever specify that?

I'm glad it isn't just me. Without knowing what health risks are on the table, this topic leaves me with an unsatisfying vibe.

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33 minutes ago, bluebell said:

First, how did they decide which religions were sexist.  I saw the parameters they used, but they still seem fairly subjective.  Do the researchers do the scoring or do the members of each congregation get to score their own religion?  

From the article

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First, we use a dichotomous measure (labeled “board”) indicating whether an “otherwise qualified woman” in the congregation would be permitted to “serve as a full-fledged member of the congregation’s main governing body or coordinating committee” (0 = yes, 1 = no). This measure of women’s representation in governance is particularly important for assessing the relationship between structural sexism and health given the accumulating evidence showing women’s political representation is vital for population health both in the United States and in the developing world (Homan 2017; Quamruzzaman and Lange 2016). Furthermore, although restricting women from governing boards is less common than other forms of religious institutional sexism, it is perhaps the most dangerous for health as it indicates a complete lack of decision-making power for women within the congregation.

Second, we use another dichotomous measure (labeled “leader”) indicating whether an “otherwise qualified woman” would be permitted to serve as the head clergyperson or primary religious leader of the congregation (0 = yes, 1 = no). Restricting women from the top rung on the congregational leadership ladder is a potentially powerful form of religious institutional sexism, as head clergy hold a great deal of power within a congregation. Additionally, much of the scholarship on gender inequality within places of worship centers on the gender-based prohibition on clergy positions, or what has been termed “the stained-glass ceiling” (e.g., adams 2007; Bartkowski and Shah 2014).

Third, we created a sexism scale, treated as a continuous measure, which is a summary measure indicating how many of the following things women are prohibited from doing in the congregation: teaching co-ed classes, preaching at a main worship service, serving on the governing body, and being the head clergyperson/ leader. Scores range from 0 (indicating no restrictions on women’s roles) to 4 (indicating women are prohibited from all four activities). The four items used in the sexism scale are all moderately correlated (correlation coefficients range from .29 to .69, see Table S3 in the online supplement) and the scale alpha is .71, indicating that the index reflects a valid construct. In addition to this straightforward index approach to creating a sexism scale, we also conducted supplemental analyses using a latent variable approach with structural equation modeling (see Tables S4 and S5 in the online supplement).

Results from these supplemental analyses did not meaningfully differ from the main results presented here. We chose the sum index approach using OLS as the main model for simplicity, ease of interpretation, and compatibility with other analyses conducted herein. All three structural sexism measures are coded such that high values indicate greater sexism in congregations. Our first two measures are important because they center on the most salient and perhaps most detrimental forms of religious institutional sexism and allow us to individually evaluate their effects. Our scale measure is useful because it combines these measures with two additional indicators to provide a more comprehensive assessment of the degree to which women are excluded from a variety of meaningful leadership roles within places of worship. Including all three measures allows us to account for women’s power and status in governance, clergy, and across a range of leadership positions.

 

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5 hours ago, 2BizE said:

Our religion is inherently sexist.  It was based on sexism and continues. The church is in a deep hole at the moment with women feeling dissatisfied with the church and stepping away. The church is trying to bail water out of the sinking boat by changing temple ceremonies, calling sisters to positions similar to the 70s, allowing women to pray in conference (2013), allowing women to act as witnesses, and allowing young women to hand out towels at temple baptisms. 

The next logical step is inclusion in the Priesthood.  IMO that is the only option if the church wants to survive.

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1 hour ago, Chum said:

This seems sound. I suspect men are more likely to leave because we like to fix things - and there is a mindset that changes that aren't explicitly mandated are somehow a threat.

I can't make head or tail of your comments here, but that just may be cause I'm an ignorant male.  Normally, however, women are described as more spiritual and faithful than men.  One might suppose that could have something to do with the greater likelihood for men to apostatize.

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29 minutes ago, sunstoned said:

The next logical step is inclusion in the Priesthood.  IMO that is the only option if the church wants to survive.

The problem with that notion is that, those churches which have tried that are rapidly losing members and failing.  Get woke and go broke.

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2 hours ago, Chum said:

This may be an attempt to force a conclusion. If so, it is a method I consider with strong skepticism.

I have found integrity in considering each each facet on it's own merits. If I find disharmony between them, it is often because I lack the wisdom of a larger picture that can reconcile everything.

Sounds more like you are chumming the sharks than engaging in meaningful discourse here.

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4 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Yes The problem with that notion is that, those churches which have tried that are rapidly losing members and failing.  Get woke and go broke.

What does the possibility of women holding the priesthood have to do with being “woke”?

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