How Well Are Boys and Girls Being Served in Churches, Schools, and Other American Institutions?

While parents in general believe institutions serve their children well, many are worried the majority, like churches and schools, have been serving their daughters better than their sons under norms of gender equality, new research suggests. And the only institutions where at least white parents believe boys are served slightly better are sports and other clubs.

Data from the 2020 American Family Survey, released in September, show that a striking minority, just 36%, of parents believe churches are serving their sons well. This share is almost equal to the 33% who say the same about how the criminal justice system is serving their sons. A minority of parents also believe churches are serving their daughters well but that number is five percentage points higher at 41%.

Daughters were also shown as being better served by every other institution highlighted in the survey, including the education system and friend networks. The only exceptions were sports and other clubs, which some 42% of particularly white parents believe are serving their sons well compared to 37% who say the same about how they serve their daughters.

The latest American Family Survey, was conducted between July 3 and July 14 in a partnership between the Deseret News and Brigham Young University’s Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy. The study explored several areas of family life, including relationships, economics, politics, health and culture. Market research and data analytics firm YouGov interviewed 3,251 respondents who were then matched down to a sample of 3,000 to produce a final dataset reflective of a sampling frame based on gender, age, race and education.

Surprising results

Jeremy C. Pope, co-director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy and one of the lead investigators on the survey, told The Christian Post that he was particularly surprised by how poorly parents rated the church in serving their children, especially their sons.

“My first reaction to that institutions data was I was surprised churches didn’t do so well. I didn’t really think about this deeply ahead of time but I thought that churches would do a little bit better than they did,” he said.

“I was not surprised that the criminal justice system was low but to be honest, churches are kind of in there with the criminal justice system and that surprised me. In future years, we want to follow up on that because it suggests a bit of dissatisfaction in how churches in particular are serving sons.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair