Just as the pandemic has reduced women’s engagement in the workplace, it has reduced their engagement with the Bible. Blame increased family responsibility for their children’s care and education during the workday borne more by women than men.
John Plake, writing for the American Bible Society.
In the ten years of State of the Bible surveys, women generally exhibit higher levels of Scripture engagement than men…..For the first time, June State of the Bible data revealed that women and men had approximately the same levels of Scripture engagement across the country.
Two key forces have exerted pressure predominantly on women during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, women with children
at home were often expected to adjust both to employment changes—ranging from increased demand for their work to working from home and even unemployment—while also taking increased responsibility for their children’s care and education during the workday. Second, many Bible Engaged and Bible Centered women were disconnected from their church gatherings, small group meetings, and less formal connections with friends who share and encourage their faith. The combined effect of increased demands on their time and decreased opportunities for social interactions around the Bible may have disrupted women’s Bible engagement routines and contributed to their decreased Scripture engagement as a population.
RNS reports on the study:
The number of American adults the American Bible Society considers “Scripture engaged” based on how frequently they read Scripture and its impact on their relationships and choices dropped significantly from 28% to 22.7% between January and June, according to additional data collected by the organization in June.
Frequency of Scripture reading also dropped over the last year, with daily readers dropping from 14% to 9% and those who read the Bible several times a week, from 14% to 12%, the lowest number on record, according to the survey, conducted in January with Barna Group, a Christian research firm.
The pandemic also shaped what people search for on Biblegateway.com. As reported by RNS,
The website BibleGateway.com, which allows users to read and search the text of multiple translations of the Bible, saw unusual spikes in related searches around the first COVID-19 lockdowns last spring, the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police and the protests that followed in the summer and the U.S. presidential election this fall, according to Bible Gateway’s Year in Review.
Users searched for Bible verses related to politics, social issues, the end times and — perhaps not surprisingly — pandemics at least 10 times more this year than they did in 2019, according to the website.