The Sources of Gender Role Attitudes among Christian and Muslim Arab-American Women


Read, Jen'nan Ghazal. 2003. "The Sources of Gender Role Attitudes among Christian and Muslim Arab-American Women." Sociology of Religion 64 (2): 207-22.

Author: Jen'nan Ghazal Read


This study examines the impact of religion on the gender role attitudes of Arab-American women, members of an ethnic group comprised of Christians and Muslims. A popular stereotype of Arab-American women portrays them as Islamic traditionalists—veiled and secluded within the home, yet few empirical studies document the effects of Islam on Arab-American women’s attitudes and behaviors. This study addresses this question and distinguishes particular cultural influences on women’s gender beliefs using survey data collected from a national sample of Arab Americans. Results of the analysis find that Arab-American women are more diverse and less traditional than popular stereotypes imply. Over one-half of women sampled are Christian, nearly one-half are foreign-born, and many hold progressive gender roles beliefs. Moreover, the analysis finds that religiosity and ethnicity are more important in shaping women’s gender role attitudes than are their affiliations are Muslims and Christians.

Keywords: gender role attitudes, immigration

Topics: Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Religion

Year: 2003

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