Female Labor Force Participation Rate and Islam in Cross-cultural Perspective
A report by Andrey Korotayev and Leonid Isaev at the regular seminar of LCSR
On March, 28 Andrey Korotaev , Doctor of History, Senior Research Fellow in the Oriental Institute and Institute for African Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences ; professor at the Higher School of Economics) and Leonid Isaev (associate professor, Department of Political Science, Higher School of Economics) delivered a report on “Female Labor Force Participation Rate and Islam in Cross-cultural Perspective" at theregular seminar of LCSR.
For the last few years, the proportion of women in the labor force increased. The number of females in labor market worldwide in 2003 reached 1.2 billion, compared with one billion in 1993. However, the problem of gender inequality in some regions of the world has not been overcome yet.
The growth of women's employment has been a strong global factor of economic growth. This is particularly important for the Arab region where labor force participation rate is very low in comparison to almost all the other countries due to extremely low female labor force participation rate.
From theoretical point of view, such a situation may be caused by Islam, because "societies that seclude their women by means of burqah or similar customs will have lower rates of female participation in activities outside of the immediate household". A. Korotaev and his colleagues provide strong empirical evidence of such hypothesis. Cross-cultural analysis showed that the correlation between percentage of Muslims in total population and female labor force participation rate in respective countries has turned out to be negative, strongly significant p << .00001), and quite strong (r=-.553).
by Stanislav Moiseev