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Rates of Women in the Shinto Clergy
In the 1993 edition of the Japan Agency of Cultural Affairs Shūkyō Nenkan (Year in Religion), the number of Shrine Shinto clergy (shinshoku) registered with the Association of Shinto Shrines (Jinja honchō) who were male was 18,714, nearly ten times the 1,825 registered females. Compared to the rates of women in the clergies of sectarian Shinto (kyōha Shintō) and in Shinto-derived New Religions (Shintōkei shinshūkyō), this is an extremely low percentage. In the new religions Tenrikyō and Seichō no ie, for example, priestesses outnumber priests roughly 110,000 to 70,000 in the former and 11,000 to 6,000 in the latter. In Konkōkyō, the rate is approximately equal, with around 2,000 clergy members of both sex. The rate in Sekai Kyūseikyō is also roughly even, with 2,100 male and 2,000 female priests. There also new religions, however, in which male clergy far outnumber female clergy, such as Kurozumikyō in which the rate is nearly two to one. Even in such cases, however, the rate is far greater than that found in the world of Shrine Shinto. The low rates of female clergy in Shrine Shinto are only matched by rates in the established sects of Japanese Buddhism. The trend seems to be that the longer a religious traditions history is, the fewer the women in its clergy.
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