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Men, Muslims, and Attitudes toward Gender Inequality

  • Danielle N. Lussier (a1) and M. Steven Fish (a2)

Gender-based inequality is often regarded as a salient characteristic of Muslim societies, yet few works have systematically compared the status of women in Muslim and non-Muslim communities. Fish (2011) finds a gender gap in structural indicators of inequality in Muslim-majority countries that cannot be explained by levels of economic development, raising questions about whether attitudes favoring inequality are more prominent among Muslims. We investigate the impact of structural-situational factors and religious identification on attitudes toward gender-based inequality using hierarchical-level models. We find that: (1) Muslim self-identification and the size of a country's Muslim population predict attitudes supportive of inequality; (2) an individual's gender has a stronger effect on attitudes than does religious identification; and (3) measures of structural inequality also shape attitudes. The effects of these variables remain strong when we consider other contextual elements, such as gross domestic product per capita, education, age, location in the Middle East, and fuels dependence.

Corresponding author
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Danielle N. Lussier, Grinnell College, 308 Carnegie Hall, Grinnell, IA 50112. E-mail:; or to: M. Steven Fish, University of California, Berkeley, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, 210 Barrows Hall #1950, Berkeley, CA 94720-1950x. E-mail:
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Politics and Religion
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