Though their numbers are slightly smaller than a decade ago, the majority of women across the nation identify as Christian.
According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, 82% of all women say religion is very important or somewhat important in their life. When the study was completed in 2007, that number was 87%.
For women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, those numbers are slightly higher. According to a 2011 Pew Research study of men and women of this faith, 97% say religion is somewhat or very important in their life.
Women within the church also have stronger religious commitment compared to women of other faiths, and compared to men within the church. According to the same 2011 Pew study, 73% of women of the Church of Jesus Christ exhibit a high level of religious commitment. Comparatively, just 36% of women nationwide and 65% of males within the LDS faith exhibit this same level of commitment.
Research suggests that this same trend exists on a global scale. A 2014 BYU Studies Quarterly study found that total church membership “consisted of 90 males for every 100 females in 2011.” Within the global population, there are 101 males for every 100 females.
The study looked at the worldwide gender distribution of the Church of Jesus Christ members and found that while males of record outnumbered females of record through age 19, more females continued their membership after the age of 20.
If this theory holds true, then of the church’s total membership of 16,313,735 (as reported by church statisticians in April 2019), approximately 52% or 8,585,917 of them are women.
It’s no wonder that many recent discussions, talks and meetings with the church have focused on the influence of women.
Even before he became the prophet of the church, President Russell M. Nelson implored the women of the church to lend their strength, voice, wisdom and conviction to the cause of the church.
“It would be impossible to measure the influence that such women have, not only on families but also on the Lord’s Church, as wives, mothers, and grandmothers; as sisters and aunts; as teachers and leaders; and especially as exemplars and devout defenders of the faith,” he said in a General Conference session in 2015.
He reiterated this appeal in 2018 at a special meeting for the women of the church.
“My dear sisters, we need you! We need your strength, your conversion, your conviction, your ability to lead, your wisdom, and your voices. We simply cannot gather Israel without you,” he said then.