Islamism and Gender Relations in the Muslim World as Reflected in Recent World Values Survey Data

27 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2016

See all articles by Arno Tausch

Arno Tausch

University of Innsbruck - Department of Political Science; Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration

Almas Heshmati

Sogang University; Jönköping International Business School

Abstract

Ever since Goldin (1995) proposed the idea that there is a U-shaped female labor force participation rate function in economic development, empirical research is stunned by the question why the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) are characterized by such low rates of female labor force participation. This gap in labor economics research is all the more perplexing since gender equality, particularly in education and employment, significantly contributes to economic growth. The research strategy of the present paper is within a relatively new tradition in labor market research, initiated by the recent article by Besamusca, Tijdens, Keune and Steinmetz (2015), which does not exclude anymore the "religious factor" and what these authors call "gender ideology". Our analysis of the "gender ideology" of Islamism and gender values is based on an empirical analysis of World Values Survey data. In recent economic theory, Carvalho (2013) maintained that Muslim veiling is a strategy for integration, enabling women to take up outside economic opportunities while preserving their reputation within the community. The empirical data clearly support a pessimistic view. We show that Muslim Feminism, which implies according to our data analysis the rejection of the twin brothers - Islamism and the veil - and the democracy movement in the Muslim world are closely interrelated. Thus, it is imperative that Western Feminism develops solidarity with Muslim Feminism, and that labor economics does not exclude anymore "the religious factor" from the analytical frameworks explaining low female labor force participation rates.

Keywords: economics of gender, sociology of economics, comparative study, political economy, female labor participation, religion, social values, index numbers, factor analysis, World Values Survey

JEL Classification: A13, C43, F66, J15, J16, J21, J42, N30, Z12

Suggested Citation

Tausch, Arno and Heshmati, Almas, Islamism and Gender Relations in the Muslim World as Reflected in Recent World Values Survey Data. IZA Discussion Paper No. 9672. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2725033

Arno Tausch (Contact Author)

University of Innsbruck - Department of Political Science ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 15
Innsbruck, Tirol 6020
Austria

Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration ( email )

Budapest H-1093
Hungary

Almas Heshmati

Sogang University ( email )

Seoul 121-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
0082-2-705-8771 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.sogang.ac.kr/english/academic/03_under_0123.html

Jönköping International Business School ( email )

Jönköping, 551 11
Sweden

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