Women in the Islamic Economy: a Cross-Cultural Perspective
Burton and Reitz (1981:298–300) suggest that Islam should tend to decrease the levels of female labor force participation rate, because "societies that seclude their women by means of purdah or similar customs will have lower rates of female participation in activities outside of the immediate household". One could add to this that al-Qur'ān contains explicit prescription for husbands to be the principal breadwinners for their families; in fact, the obedience of wives to their husbands is explicitly connected with husbands providing subsistence to their wives (e.g.,al-Qur'ān 4:34). Against such background, we had certain grounds to expect that the Islamic societies would have lower levels of female labor force participation rate than non-Islamic. Our cross-cultural tests have supported this hypothesis. The correlation between percentage of Muslims in total population and female labor force participation rate in respective countries has turned out to be in the predicted direction (that is, negative), significant beyond any doubt (p << .00001), and quite strong (r=-.553).
Parallel Cousin Marriage, Risks of Political Destabilisation, Islam, labor force, Arab world