“Two Small Copper Coins” and Much More Chinese Protestant Women and Their Contributions to the Church – Cases from Past and Present
Observations of Christian congregations around the world, including China, will show that women make up the majority in most given settings. One could say that women have been, and are, the backbone of the Church, from the women around Jesus to the studies today that show how women make up the majority of active church members, in China as much as elsewhere. The comparative lack of male churchgoers has been discussed at length in many Churches and denominations in the West, and there have also been a number of surveys and studies trying to document and analyse this situation. Recent studies also indicate that women are more religious than men in general, especially among Christians. In the first decades after Mao Zedong’s death the tendency towards a majority of older women may have been even stronger in China than in the West, since fewer younger people felt secure enough to state their faith publicly in China, or were willing to suffer the consequences in school or at work. Also, the Chinese government recognises the situation of a majority of women in the Church, especially in the countryside. There is even a typical Chinese phrase for this phenomenon, “lao san duo” 老三多 (three old many), i.e. “many women, many old, many with low cultural level [education]” (妇女多、老人多、文化程度低者多).