Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shocker: Women's rights do not bloom in Arab Spring

A recent episode of NPR's Talk of the Nation focused on the consequences of the "Arab Spring" one year out. In response to a caller's question about how the overthrow of ruling regimes has affected women's rights, a correspondent in Egypt replies:
I think it's an extremely important question [AE: I wish reporters like this Garcia-Navarro would be asked why, exactly, is a question like this "extremely important"? Surely there are many other potential consequences of the 'Arab Spring' that are of greater importance to the West than this one is.], and I think, you know, it depends on which country you're looking at, but across the board I think many women who were involved in the revolution, certainly in Libya, certainly in Egypt, they do feel that they - that it hasn't necessarily empowered them.
For one, the "women who were involved in the revolution" don't appear to have much influence over what is replacing the regimes they helped topple:
The tally, with the two groups of Islamists together winning about 70 percent of the seats, indicates the deep cultural conservatism of the Egyptian public, which is expressing its will through free and fair elections for the first time in more than six decades. ...

A coalition of parties founded by the young leaders of the revolt that unseated Mr. Mubarak won only a few percent of the seats.

Upon news of the Egyptian parliamentary elections, Razib wrote:

Back in the heady days of the Arab Spring some commenters infected by revolutionary fervor would scoff at the purported Islamist sympathies of the people. What this goes to show is that enthusiasm and hope does not translate into reality. If secular liberals in Egypt bow before the principle of popularity, then they accept that it is right and proper that they present their throats to their new overlords. I don’t view this as an apocalypse. It is what it is. But it was predictable.
As are, I suspect, the prospects in Egypt and other Arab Spring countries for what in the Western worldview constitutes women's rights. The WVS probes respondents in participating countries about their feelings on multiple indicators of Western conceptions of women's rights. The following tables show responses from select Western nations and Muslim countries, and to provide a miscellaneous angle, Japan, collected from 2005-2008 (with the exception of the Egyptian response to the question on abortion, which was collected in 2000):

Agree that when jobs are scare, men should
have more right to them than women
Men
Women
United States
8.0%
5.6%
Great Britain
18.2%
14.4%
Canada
14.1%
14.4%
Germany
19.5%
16.3%
France
16.2%
19.8%
Japan
28.7%
25.8%
Malaysia
59.4%
38.7%
Turkey
58.8%
47.7%
Iran
75.1%
63.6%
Iraq
87.4%
80.6%
Egypt
93.1%
84.9%

Men make better business executives
than women do
Men
Women
United States
21.4%
11.7%
Great Britain
25.0%
9.5%
Canada
13.5%
9.4%
Germany
23.9%
10.2%
France
18.4%
10.5%
Japan
45.2%
29.0%
Malaysia
66.5%
42.6%
Turkey
59.5%
47.9%
Iran
85.6%
71.6%
Iraq
n/a
n/a
Egypt
89.2%
82.1%

Men make better political leaders
than women do
Men
Women
United States
27.2%
22.3%
Great Britain
26.2%
13.9%
Canada
20.5%
16.4%
Germany
25.2%
12.9%
France
24.3%
18.3%
Japan
51.9%
37.7%
Malaysia
77.4%
59.2%
Turkey
66.5%
56.2%
Iran
85.3%
71.9%
Iraq
92.2%
88.1%
Egypt
94.7%
90.1%

Approve of single motherhood
Men
Women
United States
49.0%
55.1%
Great Britain
28.9%
37.7%
Canada
44.0%
48.7%
Germany
33.3%
38.3%
France
59.6%
64.8%
Japan
20.6%
22.3%
Malaysia
16.9%
18.0%
Turkey
9.0%
8.0%
Iran
3.0%
2.3%
Iraq
n/an/a
Egypt
1.5%
2.0%

University is more important for
a boy than for a girl
Men
Women
United States
11.4%
4.5%
Great Britain
9.4%
4.5%
Canada
5.6%
4.3%
Germany
19.7%
10.2%
France
8.3%
5.3%
Japan
31.0%
18.8%
Malaysia
56.3%
36.1%
Turkey
22.3%
17.2%
Iran
64.2%
46.9%
Iraq
52.3%
46.0%
Egypt
46.7%
31.8%

Abortion is never justifiable
Men
Women
United States
24.4%
26.6%
Great Britain
20.2%
19.8%
Canada
25.0%
27.0%
Germany
15.0%
15.7%
France
12.8%
14.6%
Japan
15.2%
14.5%
Malaysia
40.7%
45.3%
Turkey
62.7%
61.6%
Iran
61.0%
61.6%
Iraq
83.6%
85.7%
Egypt
61.8%
50.9%

Turkey and Malaysia are considered religiously moderate Islamic countries, yet mainstream public sentiment on the items above (and on a whole host of other social issues) in these places are significantly to the right of the Republican party in the US, and of course public sentiment in more fervently Islamic countries like Iraq, Iran, and Egypt is more conservative still.

By way of example, the question on abortion is on a ten-point scale, with all but one of the possible responses allowing for abortion in at least some cases. The respective table above includes only the percentages of respondents who share Rick Santorum's view that it is never--even in the case of rape--justifiable for a woman to have an abortion. Throughout the Muslim Middle East and North Africa, majorities of both men and women feel the same way the "champion of the extreme anti-choice movement" in the US does.

The impression one gets from listening to major media organs in the US like NPR is that the putative rights of women are being squelched against their wishes. In reality, most women in Egypt don't want what the feminists in the West are selling. Four of five Egyptian women feel that men make better business executives than women do, and nine of ten feel the same way when it comes to political leaders. An overwhelming majority think that the workplace is a man's place before it is a woman's. Almost unanimously, single motherhood is censured. If a mainstream politician in the US were to express an opinion on any of these "women's rights" issues that most Egyptian women hold (and more power to them as far as I'm concerned--it's their country and their lives, not ours), it could easily spell the end of his political career.

WVS variables used: V44(1)(2-3), V59, V61, V62(1-2)(3-4), V63(1-2)(3-4), V204(1)(2-10), GENDER

12 comments:

chucho said...

Great post. SWPLs think other cultures and groups will always make the same value choices that they have made once those groups are no longer oppressed by poverty/religion/etc.

Ed Tom Kowalsky said...

As our disingenous Leftists will inform us, those Islamic women are obviously operating under false consciousness. After sufficient tutelage under the western femenist aegis, englightenment will wash over them and they will begin slaughtering their babies en masse.

Anonymous said...

If the US just took over those countries for 50 years, liberal activists could educate and inform these poor people that their choices are hurting them in the long run. Gently tell them that resistance is futile, they will be assimilated.

Mark Presco said...

I think that the main consideration for this data is not being factored in, and that is whether or not women want to be in the workplace or otherwise outside of the home. It wasn’t until the 20th century when all those nice cushy air-conditioned office jobs became available that the workplace became attractive to western women and then they demanded immediate gratification, especially in the top office jobs. Before that they content to stay home with the kids and let the men work themselves into an early grave.

silly girl said...

AE, I couldn't help but think of you.

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/what-are-the-odds-that-stats-would-get-this-popular/

Audacious Epigone said...

Silly girl,

Haha, that's the kind of stuff that'll put me out of business! The foundation here is simplicity and reliability, not econometrics-esque wizardry.

Anonymous White Male said...

Mark Presco said...

"It wasn’t until the 20th century when all those nice cushy air-conditioned office jobs became available that the workplace became attractive to western women and then they demanded immediate gratification, especially in the top office jobs. Before that they content to stay home with the kids and let the men work themselves into an early grave."

Actually, the truth is that women still prefer the old ways. If you ask some female of college age or just out, they will deny it. But, if you ask one that has been in the workplace for years and had their children raised in daycare, there is a regret and guilt that they didn't stay at home with their kids. Also, the advent of a fictitious "comfortable work place" had nothing to do with women joining the work force. It was a socially engineered phenomenon due to the perpetual debt inherent in an interest dependent economy. That and the need to destabilize the family unit to achieve the "diverse" and "politically correct" totalitarian state we live in today.

hbd chick said...

"The impression one gets from listening to major media organs in the US like NPR is that the putative rights of women are being squelched against their wishes. In reality, most women in Egypt don't want what the feminists in the West are selling."

swpls are bad at not getting that other peoples think and feel differently about all sorts of issues, but i think most people are guilty of this to some extent or another. it's real hard to put yourself in someone else's shoes, especially if you believe all that drivel that "all people are the same."

swpls are the worst at this, of course, tho. (~_^)

Anonymous said...

If a mainstream politician in the US were to express an opinion on any of these "women's rights" issues that most Egyptian women hold, it could easily spell the end of his political career.

"Could easily", you say?
No. He will be literally laughed into obscurity - guaranteed.

commmonwealth contrarian said...

Interesting how the US is actually more liberal than most western nations on a number of isses.

Believing in religion and opposing abortion doesn't necessarily make someone a conservative.

The percentage of people in the US who approve of single motherhood and women CEOs is quite surprising.

commmonwealth contrarian said...

Actually, that's an overstatement, but the US is certainly less socially conservative that most people believe.

Anonymous said...

This may come as a shock to deluded Western feminists and the Western mainstream media but *shocker* Muslim women actually love their men since they come from the same families and are kind of (genetically) inbred. Muslim women will defend and not desert their patriarchs. They will gladly wear the hijb and marry their men. There hasn't been a "women's rights" because genetics and religion combined doesn't allow it. The "Arab Spring" is a lie and a false hope. After the secular sympathizing dictators are thrown off (who were okay with the West and Israel), say hello to authoritarian Muslim democracy (kind of like the USA is a democracy but ruled by bankers).

Actually, that's an overstatement, but the US is certainly less socially conservative that most people believe.

The USA has a huge minority population, what do you expect? Plus the elite is full of white and Jewish social liberals.