Comparative Analysis of Gender Equality Policies in Muslim Countries




gender equality policies, Muslim, non-Muslim, Muslim women


There is a common Western scholarly tendency to see Muslim countries as a uniformed culture when considering gender equality and women’s rights issues. This article analyzes the variance of gender equality policies between Muslim countries while questioning those arguments and the arguments that see Islamic religious heritage as one of the most powerful barrier to gender equality in the world. For this aim, this study uses new original scales of gender equality policies developed to measure the scope of gender equality policies around the world. These scales facilitated us to comparatively analyze gender equality policies in 84 countries, 20 of which are Muslim countries. Analyzes of this study demonstrates that there is a significant variance of gender equality policies between Muslim countries. Moreover, empirical evidence provided by this study also shows that Muslim countries in general adopts worse gender equality policies than non-Muslim countries.


Afkhami M. (1995). Faith and Freedom: Women's Human Rights in the Muslim World. London: I.B. Tauris & Co Ltd.
Aktürk Ş. (2007). Braudel’den Elias’a ve Huntington’a “Medeniyet” Kavramının Kullanımları. Doğu Batı, 41: 147-175.
UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) (2003). Arap İnsani Kalkınma Raporu 2003: Bilgi Toplumu Kurarken (Arab Human Development Report 2003: Building a Knowledge Society). UNDP, Regional Bureau for Arab States.
Ayata A.G. & Tutuncu F. (2008). Critical Acts without Critical Mass: The Substantive Representation of Women in the Turkish Parliament. Parliamentary Affairs, 61(3): 461-475.
Beeman W.O. (2013). Iran’s Islamic Republic. In Esposito J.L. & Shahin E.E: (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics. Newyork: Oxford University Press: page numbers.
Bodman H.L. (1998). Introduction. In Bodman H. L. & Tohidi N. (Eds.), Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers: page numbers.
Bubic S. (1996) Family Law in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Bainham A. (Ed.), The International Survey of Family Law 1996. The Hague: Martinus Hijhoff Publishers: 51-68.
Charrad M.M. (2001). State and Women's Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria & Morocco. Ewing, NJ, USA: University of California Press.
Davutoğlu A. (1997). Medeniyetlerin ben-İdrakı. Divan, 1997(1):1-53.
Donno D. & Russet B. (2004). Islam, Authoritarianism, and Female Empowerment: What Are the Linkages? World Politics, 56(4): 582-607.
Eissa D. (1999). Constructing the Notion of Male Superiority over Women in Islam. Women Living Under Muslim Law (WLUML) Occasional Paper No.11.
Engineer A.A. (1996). The Rights of Women in Islam. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.
Esmer Y. (2003). Is there an Islamic Civilization. In R. F. Inglehart (Ed.), Human Values and Social Change: Findings from the Values Surveys. Leiden: Brill: 265-298.
Esposito J.L. & Piscatori J.P. (1991). Democratization and Islam. Middle East Journal, 45(3): 427-440.
Esposito J.L. & Voll J.O. (1996) Islam and Democracy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Fish M.S. (2012). Islam and Authoritarianism. World Politics, 55 (1): 4-37.
Htun M. & Weldon S.L. (2012). The Civic Origins of Progressive Policy Change: Combating Violence against Women in Global Perspective, 1975–2005. American Political Science Review, 106(3): 548-569.
Hudson V.M.; Ballif-Spanvill B.; Caprioli M. & Emmett C.F. (2012). Sex and World Peace. New York: Columbia University Press.
Hudson V.M.; Bowen D.L. & Nielsen P.L. (2011). What Is the Relationship between Inequity in Family Law and Violence against Women? Approaching the Issue of Legal Enclaves. Politics & Gender, 7: 453-492.
Huntington S.P. (1993). The clash of civilizations? Forgein Affairs, 72(3): 22-49.
Huntington S.P. (1998). The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order. London: Touchstone Books.
Inglehart R. & Norris P. (2003). The True Clash of Civilizations. Foreign Policy, 135: 62-70.
Inglehart R. & Norris P. (2004). Rising Tide: Gender Equality and Cultural Change around the World. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Jamal A. & Langohr V. (2010). The Politics of Passing Women-Friendly Legislation in Arab Parliaments. Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans.
Keddie N.R. (1990). The Past and Present of Women in the Muslim World. Journal of World History, 1(1): 77-108.
Lenski G. & Nolan P.D. (1984). Trajectories of Development: A test of ecological-evolutionary theory. Social Forces, 63(1): 1-23.
Lewis B. (1990). The Roots of Muslim Rage. The Atlantic, 266(3): 47-60.
Mazur A.G. (2002). Theorizing Feminist Policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Midlarsky M.M.(1998). Democracy and Islam: Implications for Civilizational Conflict and the Democratic Peace. International Studies Quarterly, 42(3): 485-511.
Norton R.A. (2002). Civil Society and Prospects of Democratization in the Arab World. In Ibrahim S.E (Ed.), Egypt, Islam and Democracy: Critical Essays. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press: 245-266.
Price D.E. (1999). Islamic Political Culture, Democracy, and Human Rights A Comparative Study. Westport: Praeger Publishers.
Ratner R.S. (1980). The Policy and Problem: Overview of Seven Countries. In Ratner R.S. (Ed.), Equal Employment Policy for Women. Philedelphia: Temple University Press: 1-53.
Said B.E.W. (2001). Cehaletler Çatışması. The Nation, 278(12): 11-14.
Shaaban B. (1995). Muted Voices of Women Interpreters. In Afkhami M. (Ed.), Faith and Freedom: Women's Human Rights in the Muslim World. New York: Syracuse University Press: 61-77.
Spierings N.; Smits J. & Verloo M. (2008). On the Compatibility of Islam and Gender Equality: Effects of Modernization, State Islamization, and Democracy on Women's Labor Market Participation in 45 Muslim Countries. Social Indicators Research, 90: 503-522.
Stepan A.C. & Robertson G.B. (2003). An "Arab" More than "Muslim" Electoral Gap. Journal of Democracy, 14(3): 30-44.
Stetson D.M. (2004). Women's Rights in the USA: Policy debates and Gender Roles (3rd ed.). London: Routledge.
Sweeney S.E. (2006). Women's Human Rights: A Global Comparative Analysis. Doctoral Dissertation, Graduate School of Binghamton University State University of New York.
Sweeney S.E. (2007). Government Respect for Women's Economic Rights: A Cross-National Analysis, 1981–2003. In S. Hertel & L. Minkler (Eds.), Economic Rights: Conceptual Measurement and Policy Issues. New York: Cambridge University Press: 233-266.
Tessler M. (2002). Islam and Democracy in the Middle East: The Impact of Religious Orientations on Attitudes toward Democracy in Four Arab Countries. Comparative Politics, 34(3), 337-354.
Tohidi N. (1998). The Issues at Hand. In H. L. Bodman & N. Tohidi (Eds.), Women in Muslim Societies: Diversity within Unity. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Toynbee A.J. (1965). A Study of History. New York: Oxford University Press.
Walby S. (2009). Globalization and Inequalities: Complexity and Contested Modernities. London, UK: Sage Publications.
Waylen G. (2008). Enhancing the Substantive Representation of Women: Lessons from Transitions to Democracy. Parliamentary Affairs, 61(3), 518-534.
WEF (World Economic Forum) (2016). Küresel Cinsiyet Uçurumu Raporu, Dünya Ekonomik Forumu (Global Gender Gap Report). Internet adresi: Erişim tarihi: 15 Şubat 2016
Voll J.O. (2007). Islam and Democracy: Is Modernization a Barrier? Religion Compass, 1(1): 170–178.



How to Cite

Ertan, S. (2021). Comparative Analysis of Gender Equality Policies in Muslim Countries. Kadın/Woman 2000, Journal for Women’s Studies, 19(1), 43–73.