A Comparison of the Social, Religious, and Gender Role Attitudes of Catholic and Protestant Women in the Republic of Ireland: Twenty-first Century Ire
By: Florence E.V. Craven (author)Hardback
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This study analyzes the attitudes of a female sample stratified according to religious tradition (Catholic/Protestant). The sample was also stratified by age (21-45/46-70 years) and location (rural/urban). Irish sociological, social psychological and feminist scholarship has produced diverse work concerning many facets of Irish women's lives, but little research has specifically focused on the attitudes of Irish Protestant and Catholic women as distinct groups. Qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques were used to study the social and religious attitudes of respondents living in 12 counties throughout the Republic of Ireland. Qualitative interviews were conducted amongst 48 respondents (24 Catholic/24 Protestant respondents). Several dimensions of attitudes emerged through factor analysis. The main study sample consisted of 467 returned questionnaires (226 Catholic/241 Protestant respondents), which yielded a response rate of 93.4 per cent.
The effects of religion, age and location on 12 factors emerging from factor analysis were then examined by analysis of variance, which identified those variables having significant main effects and/or interaction effects on respondent attitudes. Correlational analysis was then used to examine the relationships between the different factors. An analysis of how respondents perceived the role of women in Irish society and the churches was presented in the qualitative results chapter, the main results and discussion chapters in this book. Both religion and age emerged as the primary determinants of attitudes in this study. Location played a minimal role as determinant. Notable differences occurred between Catholic and Protestant women in the areas of religiosity, attitudes to the role of the churches in women's lives, abortion/divorce, Catholic clergy and ordination of women as priests and ministers. While Catholic respondents were found to have higher religiosity, they were more likely to believe that their church has played an oppressive role in women's lives. In terms of moral issues, Protestants were more likely than Catholics to support abortion in exceptional circumstances.
They also had the strongest approval for the ordination of women. While Protestants did not indicate unease with being part of a minority religion, they nonetheless reported having been encouraged by parents to marry within their own religion. The two groups were similar in that they were both very supportive of maternal employment and strongly rejected traditional sex-roles for women. It was interesting to see that both groups believed social attitudes towards women to be negative. It may be concluded that while religion still has meaning for respondents, they nonetheless have very secular and egalitarian attitudes and favour change in their churches and society as a whole.
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- ID: 9780773437876
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