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Why more young women are leaving church
While there has been a sharp decrease in religious affiliation amongst millennials, a recent study found that females are leading the way. - photo by Massarah Mikati
An increasing number of young women are leading the millennial generation in ditching church, according to a recent study.

Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at the University of San Diego and author of "Generation Me," and fellow researchers examined data from the Monitoring the Future and American Freshman surveys.

They found that while the majority of adolescents and young adults remain religiously involved, the number of 12th graders and college students that have never attended religious services has doubled since the 1960s-'70s. In addition, the number of 8th and 10th graders who do not attend religious services has increased by 20 percent to 40 percent.

According to the study published by the Public Library of Science website PLOS One, the decline in religious orientation is greater among girls, as well as Northeasterners, whites and political liberals. While the number of 12th grade girls who reported never attending church increased 125 percent since the 1960s-'70s, the male increase was less at 83 percent.

The rise in cultural individualism may have impacted some groups more than others, the study said. Given shifts away from traditional female roles, females may have been affected more than males.

Individualism, they explain, is focusing on oneself rather than others and society in general. The study found a correlation but not necessarily causation between low religious involvement and high individualism, and vice versa.

Stemming from individualism and what often clashes with religious affiliation is lack of commitment (most religious organizations need some form of commitment), difference of opinion and resulting tension, the inability to submit to authority and the unwillingness to sacrifice oneself (often, religion urges helping others and serving God).

Hannah Hunt, a 24-year-old, told the Washington Post that the shift away from traditional female roles contributed to her dwindling religiosity.

Despite their greater generational decrease of religiosity, however, women still make up a majority of the religiously affiliated. A 2015 Pew Study reported that over half of nearly every Christian group constitutes women, with the largest in the Jehovahs Witnesses church at 65 percent.
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