I'm a bit short on time right now, really sorry, but it was all over the news after some report back in 2005, if you google "europe converts
islam women", you'll get loads of news articles of back then. And it isn't just converting for marrying muslim men (that isn't the major percentage)!
No problem. This is what I found, following your directions:
The Christian Science Monitor
, despite what the name suggests (and yes, it is a church-owned publication) is well-regarded, often reliable as
journalism goes, and enjoys a good track record when reporting about other religions. So, assuming that I've found a right source, I read
Admittedly patchy research suggests that more women than men convert, experts say, but that - contrary to popular perception - only a minority do
so in order to marry Muslim men.
That's not much of a basis for saying as a fact that more Western women than men convert. As to the reasons for conversion, the reporting seems
anecdotal more than systematic. Even then, the reasons presented seem diverse and even in some cases, vague.
Since you mentioned the marriage aspect, I noticed that the article's follow-up to its remark in the quote box emphasized that Islam doesn't require a
woman to convert to marry a Muslim. That's fine, but Roman Catholicism (to name one big religion in Europe) places strong restrictions on Catholics
marrying people of any other faith. It isn't always possible for a Catholic to marry outside the faith and remain a practicing Catholic. So, it's not
clear that marriage isn't a motive just because the destination religion didn't require the conversion.
And speaking of which, Roman Catholicism isn't always such a nice place for some
women compared with Western secular norms, either. It is
entirely possible, then, for a Catholic woman (not every Catholic woman, and not necessarily a typical Catholic woman) to improve
as a woman by adopting Islam, without her situation becoming a good one as others might appraise it. Since voluntary religious conversion isn't a
typical behavior in the first place, regardless of the destination religion, this sort of thing needs to be taken into account when thinking about
what this behavior means, if it means anything at all except for the people doing it.
If you think of something else, then I'm still open to investigate further, even if the general treatment of women in Islam wasn't an issue that I
edit on 5-4-2013 by eight bits because: copypasta was not al dente; so I cooked it some more