For some years now, public trust in politicians in Australia has been stubbornly low. New research from Kate Gleeson and Luke Ashton shows that, particularly among women, trust in religious institutions is also low.

While the researchers analysed survey data from men and women across Australia, women were significantly more likely to express distrust in religion than men, leading them to a report focused on women’s responses.

They found, for example, that around one-third of Australian women have “no trust” in religious institutions, and that finding is particularly stark among young women: about half of those aged 18-29 said they had no trust. Even among religious women, about half have no or “not very much” trust in organised religion or religious leaders. LGBTQI+ women have some of the lowest levels of trust in Australia, with nearly two-thirds saying they had no trust in religious leaders.

The authors write that much of this mistrust stems from child sex abuse scandals in religious institutions. It also led many women to agree that religious organisations should have a smaller or no role in counselling in schools.

And it is something the prime minister should bear in mind in any further debate around a religious discrimination bill - especially if any protections are perceived to encroach on children’s rights.

P.S. There is still time to register for our panel event Democracy in Peril this Thursday 9 May. You can join our Editor Misha Ketchell and three expert panellists either online or in person in Adelaide as they discuss what we can expect from elections in the USA, India, the UK and more.

Amanda Dunn

Politics + Society Editor

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A new survey shows Australian women have little trust in religious institutions, particularly when it comes to the protection of children.

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If a future government wanted to block fast-tracked projects, it could trigger investor-state dispute settlement clauses built into existing trade agreements, with billions potentially at stake.

Making merry: how we brought Melbourne’s Merri Creek back from pollution, neglect and weeds

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Environmental success depends on social connections. So if you want to start a new group, you need to think about the people as much as the problem.

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