Religion, Gender Equality, and Fertility

Open Access
Author:
Jeppsen, Catherine E
Graduate Program:
Sociology
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
November 17, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Roger Kent Finke, Dissertation Advisor
  • Melissa Hardy, Dissertation Advisor
  • Jenny Trinitapoli, Committee Member
  • Eric Plutzer, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • Religion
  • gender
  • fertility
  • demography
  • sociology
  • context
Abstract:
Research on the relationships between religion, gender equality, and fertility is generally limited to one level of analysis and/or few empirical measures. These limitations leave several unanswered questions: First, how are religious context and individual religiosity associated with fertility across cultural contexts? Second, how are various dimensions of gender equality associated with fertility across and within contexts? And third, how does religion mediate or moderate the institutional-level association between gender equality and fertility? In this dissertation I answer these questions using data for 56 countries from the 2000 wave of the World Values and European Values Surveys and several other data sources. In Chapter 1 I introduce the dissertation and briefly discuss why religion, gender equality, and fertility matter for fertility. In Chapter 2 I describe the WVS/EVS, World Bank Development Indicators, Grim and Finke International Religious Freedom Indexes (Grim and Finke 2006), Fox Religion and State data (Fox 2011), and the Cingranelli and Richards Human Rights Data Project (Cingranelli and Richards 2010), highlighting the strengths of these data for illustrating religion, gender equality, and fertility relationships. I also discuss the analytic strategy used in each of the following three chapters. In Chapter 3 I use multiple measures for religious context and individual religiosity to determine the association between religion and fertility. I find that religious context and individual religiosity are associated with fertility and that individual-level relationships vary by context, but these associations are only significant for certain measures. In Chapter 4 I use measures for gender equality in both the public and private spheres at individual and country levels to investigate an association between gender equality and fertility. I conclude that the relationship between gender equality and fertility depends largely on the type of gender equality being measured. In Chapter 5 I demonstrate an association between gender equality and fertility, and I explore the ways that religion influences this association. I conclude that religion and gender inequality work together to influence fertility in some cases. Finally, in Chapter 6 I discuss how these findings advance our understanding of the relationships between religion, gender equality, and fertility, and I offer several suggestions for future research.