Electing Women to New Arab Assemblies: The Roles of Gender Ideology, Islam, and Tribalism in Oman
Forthcoming, International Political Science Review
33 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2016 Last revised: 30 Jan 2017
Date Written: January 25, 2017
As Arab monarchies increasingly adopt and empower consultative assemblies, women’s representation varies markedly across countries. What leads citizens in these new electoral systems to vote for women? This study investigates the determinants of support for women’s representation using the first electoral survey ever conducted in Oman, prior to the October 2015 Majlis al Shura elections. It considers cross-nationally recognized factors — gender ideology and religion — and tribalism, a factor heretofore largely unexplored. Confirming prior studies, citizens with traditional gender ideology are much less supportive of women’s representation. Developing a simultaneous equations model, we show that religiosity and tribalism shape gender ideology. Unlike in Western countries, education is unassociated with attitudes, and there is no generational shift towards equality; younger men are less supportive of women’s representation than are older men. Increasing women’s representation requires not only increasing citizen demand for female leaders, but also changing informal tribal and formal electoral institutions.
Keywords: women’s representation, Arab politics, tribalism
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