When Religion Hurts: Structural Sexism and Health in Religious Congregations. By: Homan, Patricia; Burdette, Amy. American Sociological Review. Mar2021, p1.

An emerging line of research has begun to document the relationship between structural sexism and health. This work shows that structural sexism—defined as systematic gender inequality in power and resources—within U.S. state-level institutions and within marriages can shape individuals’ physical health. In the present study, we use a novel dataset created by linking two nationally representative surveys (the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study) to explore the health consequences of structural sexism within another setting: religious institutions. Although religious participation is generally associated with positive health outcomes, many religious institutions create and reinforce a high degree of structural sexism, which is harmful for health. Prior research has not reconciled these seemingly conflicting patterns. We find that among religious participants, women who attend sexist religious institutions report significantly worse self-rated health than do those who attend more inclusive congregations. Furthermore, only women who attend inclusive religious institutions exhibit a health advantage relative to non-participants. We observe marginal to no statistically significant effects among men. Our results suggest the health benefits of religious participation do not extend to groups that are systematically excluded from power and status within their religious institutions.