Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Does religiosity reduce female ambition?

It's my impression that religious women are more oriented toward family than irreligious women. Traditional religion focuses on the importance of motherhood over worldly ambition.

How do we measure occupational ambition? Let's look at occupational prestige and number of hours worked per week. I'll throw in IQ as a control:

Standardized OLS Coefficients, DV = Job prestige (sample size = 7,841)

Church attendance .08*
IQ .32*

Standardized OLS Coefficients, DV = Hours worked last week (sample size = 7,208)

Church attendance -.07*
IQ .00

* statistically significant

Interesting. Religious women work more prestigious jobs, but they tend to work fewer hours. They work smarter, not harder.


  1. Go into any Walmart in the country and count the percent of children who are Hispanic.

    Who says motherhood isn't ambitious?No other enemy of the US ever dreamed of being so ambitious -- let alone so successful.

  2. Anonymous9:01 PM

    Who says motherhood isn't ambitious?No other enemy of the US ever dreamed of being so ambitious -- let alone so successful.

    Stop on, sir. Spot on.

  3. I believe Razib has said church attendance is a proxy for coonscientiousness and generally having-it-together rather than simply religiosity. Some church attenders report in the GSS that they don't believe in God.

  4. Anonymous7:55 PM

    I am a man ,but I think religion reduced my ambition because religion preaches status or wealth won't make you happy. I wonder if I would have been more ambitious if I was raised without religion.

  5. Somewhat tangential to the topic -

    Religion makes you obese. I guess God likes the portly look.


  6. Sure, the whole idea of the traditional family was the wife stays home and takes care of the kids. It would make sense religious women would work fewer hours.

  7. "Religion makes you obese. I guess God likes the portly look."

    It's probably correlated with poverty. (Jesus said as much.) It'd be interesting for Ron to look into this and see if he can tease out the effect of economic status. It could be that poor people are more likely to be fat and religious, but that religion doesn't actually make you fat and might actually have a moderating effect. If he can debunk this before it turns into an internet meme...

  8. Anonymous5:00 AM

    It often does reduce especially if the religion tends towards theological conservatism (traditional conservatism) instead of theological liberalism. If the religion is infected with sects that are theologically liberal then it wouldn't do anything (theological liberals would be either people who practice religiosity on the surface but are secular in their outlook and life or people who are heretical in the teachings such as no belief in God or doing this when they shouldn't be doing it).

    I'm a 19 year old Christian woman and will probably work part-time only in the future and never full-time because my future husband and family will need me and because God wants it that way. My mother is a stay at home mother, married my father at 23 through a church and did an engineering course. She worked part-time at first and switched betweem that and staying at home. Now she stays at home full-time.


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