I examine the theoretical insights of Nancy Jay’s 1992 investigation of patrilineal sacrificial rituals and their role in the restriction of women in religious rituals. I use the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample, a representative sample of preindustrial societies, to test the strength of patrilineality and other factors identified as subordinating women in preindustrial societies. A societal pattern of male inheritance of property and patrilineal descent are the strongest predictors of women being restricted or excluded from major public religious rituals. The implications of this pattern for modern societies are discussed.

Author Biography

Virginia S. Fink, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Denver