Thursday, 20 October 2011

CABC: What's attracting the men?

Today we had our de-briefing meeting following the latest, and 11th, Chelmsford Anglican Bible Conference.

Our administrator, Carolan Casey, had continued the good work she does in organizing the Conference by bringing along a set of statistics. Amongst these, the most fascinating as far as I was concerned was the changing ratio of men to women attending the conference. Year on year, these are as follows:

                    Male            Female
2007            37%             63%
2008            39%             61%
2009            41%             59%
2010            42%             58%
2011            45%             55%

Now I'm not sure of the current exact figures - the best example I could find online suggests a ratio in the Church of England of 65% women to 35% men, but several things are clear:

1. The ratio of male to female attendance at CABC has changed dramatically over five years.
2. The ratio has changed steadily over those five years.
3. The initial ratio was probably much more typical of that in normal Anglican congregations.
4. The current ratio is certainly atypical of that found in normal Anglican congregations.
5. The current ratio is almost the same as that found in the general population.

It is the steadiness of the trend, more than anything else, which I find really striking. Statistics are slippery things, but it would seem to suggest either that more men are being attracted or that more men are being retained (ie come back year on year) than women. Certainly, given the imbalance in the general church population, there seems to be a disproportionate appeal to men - but others may wish to comment.

Just for the record, our booking figures look like this:

2007           201
2008           176
2009           245
2010           296
2011           392

As a PS, I am very pleased to say that in the last couple of weeks I have been contacted by people from four different dioceses talking about organizing their own Anglican Bible Conferences! (See my earlier post bewailing the lack of similar events.)

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