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While it is difficult to know precisely whether or not religious beliefs differ in relation to males and females it is evident that religious practice and participation does show relatively clear gender differences This is true across all forms of religious organisation Almost two-thirds of churchgoers are women However as with social factors like class and age it is clear that there is no overall pattern of male female religious attendance since there are evident differences between denominations For example For the Anglican Church the male to female ratio is approximately half and half For all Christian churches the male female ratio is approximately twenty to eighty percent While women are more likely than men to be involved in religious organisations it is relatively clear that in hierarchical terms men tend to dominate the most significant positions in any religious organisation This tends to hold true across the majority of the worlds major religions such as Christianity Islam and Buddhism In most religions women tend to be portrayed in terms of their traditional social characteristics The Virgin Mary in Christian religion is a good example here Although a powerful figure as the Mother of Christ her power is ideological rather than political the virtues of purity chastity motherhood and so forth are personified through her as ideals for womanhood In relation to non-Christian religions Giddens Sociology notes Females appear as important figures in the teachings of some Buddhist ordersbut on the whole Buddhism like Christianity is an overwhelmingly male-created institution dominated by a patriarchal power structure in which the feminine is most closely associated with the secular powerless profane and imperfect An obvious example drawn from Christianity might be Mankinds expulsion from the Garden of Eden the result of female duplicity According to the book of Genesis God first created man Woman was not only an afterthought but an amenity For close on two thousand years this Holy
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