Institutions, and not popular beliefs, cause the political and economic inequalities faced by women in the Arab world, argues Danielle Lussier, assistant professor of political science. In “Are Arabs sexist? The institutions, perhaps, but not the people,” she, Steven Fish of University of California-Berkley, and Rose McDermott of Brown University, present results from their research in Lebanon.
“We find no evidence that the beliefs and values of ordinary Lebanese are responsible for the substantial inequities women encounter in political life and in the workforce,” they conclude.
From the article:
Arab societies are often regarded as bad places for women and girls. According to many observers, Arabic and Islamic culture can combine to foster attitudes that are inhospitable to gender equality.
The results of a survey experiment we are conducting may challenge common assumptions. Women do face special difficulties in Arab lands, which are reflected in bleak statistics about inequalities in political and economic life. But we find little evidence that popular attitudes are to blame. Our data from Lebanon, with its mix of Muslims and Christians, may be particularly illuminating.