The Relationship Between Gender Equality and Democracy: A Comparison of Arab Versus Non-Arab Muslim Societies

Publication Abstract

Rizzo H, Abdel-Latif A, and Meyer K. 2007. "The Relationship Between Gender Equality and Democracy: A Comparison of Arab Versus Non-Arab Muslim Societies." Sociology 41(6): 1151-70.

Inglehart and Norris argue that the core clash between the Islamic world and the West is over issues concerning gender equality rather than democracy. However, a comparison between Arab and non-Arab Muslim societies is essential before drawing this conclusion. Here, we compared nations from each society and found significant differences in attitudes toward gender equality, democratic governance and religious identities. We analyzed models predicting support for democracy including views toward gender equality in each set of countries. In non-Arab Muslim countries, there were higher levels of support for women's rights, and those who supported gender equality were significantly more likely to support democracy. The reverse was true in the Arab Muslim countries. We argue that for a complete and unbiased form of democracy to emerge in the Arab Middle East, a rule of law that would protect gender equality, minority rights and citizen inclusion would need to be instituted.

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