PROTESTANT WOMEN have a more positive view of how women are treated in their church than their Catholic counterparts, according to a Trinity College Dublin study published yesterday.
Almost three-quarters of Catholic women do not feel their church “regards women with a lot of respect” in contrast to 94 per cent of Protestant womenwho feel they are respected.
Three-fifths of Catholic women also felt their church “appears to put men first, so society inevitably reflects this” while just 32 per cent of Protestant women agreed.
Eighty per cent of Protestant women agreed “there isn’t that much difference between what men and women do in my church” compared to just under half of Catholic women.
Seventy-two per cent of Catholic women agreed that their church “had long tried to control the position of women in society”, while just 20 per cent of Protestant women agreed.
Despite misgivings, 73 per cent of Catholic women said the “Catholic clergy are now more understanding of what women need from their church”.
Over one-third of Protestant women reported discrimination due to their religion, with just 4 per cent of Catholic women agreeing.
Both groups of women were tolerant of abortion in defined circumstances with 90 per cent of Catholic women and 97 per cent of Protestant women agreeing that “abortion should be allowed if the pregnancy seriously endangers the life of the mother”.
The study was carried out by Dr Florence Craven of the Social Attitude and Policy Research Group at Trinity College in Dublin between 2002 and 2006, and included 467 Catholic and Protestant women.
Both religious groups were equally represented with half in the 21 to 45 age group and half aged between 46 and 70, covering urban and rural areas.