Several theories seek to make sense of women’s religiosity, usually to explain why women seem to be more religious than men. This chapter reviews common theses (biology, deprivation, risk profile, and socialization), and discusses their relevance. A particular theme is ‘generation’, which is difficult to generalize given the vast diversity of women studied. Not a homogeneous group, the majority have attended since childhood, but others joined later in life. Nevertheless, evidence about wartime, nation rebuilding, post-war austerity, domestication, and the consumerist boom help draw broad strokes to characterize qualities of Generation A and its influence on subsequent generations. There is a tension between the historic work of women missionaries, women priests, and laywomen. Women often performed dangerous and challenging work as missionaries, both working to spread the gospel and also, through organizations such as the Mothers’ Union, to inculcate an image of the civilized white woman in British colonies.
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