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Relative gender differentials and Islam in non-Arabic nations: a regional analysis

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  • Sharmistha Self
  • Richard Grabowski

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to seek to empirically analyze whether the impact of Islam on relative gender performance varies by regions of the non-Arabic world's economy. In addition, if in some regions Islam is found to have a negative impact on relative gender performance, an attempt is made to determine what aspect of Islamic practice (not doctrine) might account for this impact. Design/methodology/approach - The empirical estimations are carried out in a cross-country framework. Findings - The results indicate that the impact of Islam varies by region, for the most part being associated with a worsening in relative gender performance. However, once it accounts for differences in birth rates, the negative impact of Islam on gender inequality disappears for all regions. Research limitations/implications - Fewer variations in the data limit the estimation procedures one can use for the purpose of the analysis. Practical implications - Contrary to the consensus in the literature, the paper finds that it is not Islam that worsens gender inequality but rather the high fertility rates generally found among followers of Islam. Originality/value - The paper is unique in its focusing exclusively on non-Arab countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Sharmistha Self & Richard Grabowski, 2009. "Relative gender differentials and Islam in non-Arabic nations: a regional analysis," International Journal of Development Issues, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 8(2), pages 102-118, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijdipp:v:8:y:2009:i:2:p:102-118
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    Keywords

    Gender; Islam; Equal opportunities; Fertility;

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