WED FORUM: Religion and Attitudes toward Gender Inequality: An Indonesian Survey

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Abstract:
Inequality between the sexes is often regarded as a salient characteristic of Muslim societies. Despite enormous public and academic interest in the possible relationship between religion and sex-based inequality, few works have systematically compared the status of women and girls in Muslim and non-Muslim communities. This research presentation examines the question of attitudes toward sex-based inequality using an experiment embedded in a cross-national public opinion survey.

The presentation will focus on findings from a national-level survey of Indonesia, but will also provide some comparative data from surveys in Jordan, Lebanon, and Uganda that demonstrate several broad conclusions. First, while we find meaningful variation in the levels of support for female empowerment across these countries, there is little support for the hypothesis that Muslims, in particular, hold attitudes favorable toward the unequal treatment of women. Second, we find that interaction with religious leaders and co-religionists does not have a perceivable effect on attitudes toward gender inequality. Third, we find that a respondent’s sex is a potentially strong predictor of attitudes toward gender inequality. The results of our investigation could have implications for a broad range of political outcomes, including social development, structural inequalities, and inter-confessional conflict.

Presenter:
xxDanielle Lussier is an assistant professor in political science at Grinnell College, USA and a Visiting Researcher at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at University of Gadjah Mada. Lussier’s research focuses on democratization, political participation, public opinion, and religion and politics.

Her work has appeared in Journal of Democracy, Problems of Post-CommunismPost-Soviet Affairs, and Slavic Review, and her book manuscript Constraining Elites in Russia and Indonesia: Political Participation and Regime Survival, is under contract with Cambridge University Press. Lussier is also involved in a collaborative research project that examines variation in social and political attitudes between Muslims and Christians in six different countries. She has conducted field work in multiple Russian cities and in Medan, Surabaya, Jakarta, and Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

*Additional Information:
This Wednesday Forum is the last session for this semester. The following section will be begun in February 2015.

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