When Religion Hurts: How Complementarian Churches Harm Women

I attend a complementarian church.

In my defense, it is soft complementarian, and living in the South means traditional gender roles are the accepted norm here even outside of the church. But as a strong proponent of egalitarianism who regularly writes and speaks about the value of gender equality, I experience significant cognitive dissonance between my beliefs and my attendance at my church.

A recent study1 in American Sociological Review by Homan and Burdette (2021) revealed how structural sexism in religious congregations correlates with women’s and men’s health.

As I read through the study to translate its results for CBE readers, I wondered about the health effects of my own church. Would it be considered a “sexist congregation” by the authors’ definition? And how might that affect my health, my husband’s health, and our fellow church congregants’ health?

Read the full article at CBE.

This article was originally published by CBE on May 21, 2021.


1Homan, P. & Burdette, A. (2021). When religion hurts: Structural sexism and health in religious congregations. American Sociological Review.


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