Survey finds gender bias

May 16, 2008

Jews are far more likely than Christians or Muslims in the UK to believe that religions, including their own, discriminate against women.

Seventy-three per cent of Jews feel that faiths are discriminatory, compared with 50 per cent of Christians and 29 per cent of Muslims, according to a new poll by Populus.

Just over half of Jews, 51 per cent, think of God as male, with 47 per cent agreeing with the idea that it is right to think of God as “He”. But among a random sample of 1,050 adults, only 25 per cent of Muslims think it right to call God “He”, compared with 53 per cent of Christians.

The survey was conducted on behalf of the Reform movement ahead of the publication of Forms of Prayer, the movement’s first new siddur for 30 years. It attempts to bridge the gender divide by avoiding male terminology for God. For example, the traditional formula for blessings, “Lord, Our God, King of the Universe”, becomes: “Our Living God, Sovereign of the Universe”. Edited by Rabbi Dr Jonathan Magonet, emeritus professor at Leo Baeck College, it refers to the matriarchs as well as to the patriarchs.

Last updated: 11:03am, May 16 2008