A recent study on prayer titled “The Gender Gap in Religion Around the World” found that Israel is the only country surveyed in which the men pray more than women.
The comprehensive study surveyed more than 2,500 censuses in 192 countries. The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan American think tank which is based in Washington, D.C. It provides information on social issues, public opinion, and demographic trends shaping the United States and the world.
The “Gender Gap” survey showed that of the 84 countries polled, Israel was the only one in which men pray more than women. Of the remainder, 43 countries showed 8% more women pray daily than men. The remaining 40 showed equal numbers. In Israel, approximately 22% of all Jewish adults self-identify as Orthodox.
The difference is so marked that some churches especially in Europe, have begun changing their decor and color schemes in an attempt to attract more men.
Most major religions are male dominated, with male deities and exclusively male clergy. Sociologists have wondered why, despite the gender bias, women globally pray more than men. Pew cited the theory that it may be biological: testosterone-driven men are too aggressive to sit and pray.
Women living in majority Christian countries report more weekly attendance at religious services than men. The exact opposite is true in majority Muslim countries and in the only majority Jewish state, Israel. Despite all three religions being Abrahamic in origin, they have very different appeal to each gender, with interesting similarities between Judaism and Islam.
In Israel, where approximately 22% of all Jewish adults self-identify as Orthodox, men attend weekly religious services 19% more than women. The reason for this may actually be more technical than spiritual. According to Jewish law, a quorum of ten men is required for certain rituals and prayers. In most Islamic societies, Muslim men are expected to attend communal Friday midday prayers in the mosque. Women, on the other hand, can fulfill this obligation individually, either inside the home or at their places of worship.
Israel is also exceptional in regards to which gender holds religion as important. In 36 out of 84 countries, more women than men said religion was very important to them. Israel and Mozambique were the only countries in which more men than women claimed a strong connection to religion.
When the study looked at affiliation worldwide, they saw that 83.4% of women identify with a particular faith as compared to 79.9% of men.