Bringing together feminist analyses of economic processes and outcomes with feminist critiques of Orientalism, this book examines the diverse economic realities facing women in a range of Muslim communities. This approach pays special attention to the role of Islam in economic analyses of gender equality and women’s well-being in Muslim communities, while at the same time challenging biased and inaccurate accounts that essentialize Islam.
Nuanced case studies conducted in Bangladesh, Iran, Israel, Nigeria, and Turkey illustrate the historical and institutional diversity of Muslim communities and draw vivid pictures of the everyday economic lives of Muslim women in these communities. These studies are complemented by quantitative analyses that extend beyond inserting Islam as a dummy variable. The contributions represent a wide range of disciplines, including anthropology, economics, gender studies, political science, psychology, and sociology.
By placing critiques of Orientalist scholarship in direct dialogue with scholarship on economic development in Muslim contexts, this diverse collection illustrates how different methods and frameworks can work together to provide a better understanding of gender equality and women’s well-being in Muslim contexts. In doing so, the authors aim to facilitate conversations among feminist scholars across disciplines in order to provide a more nuanced picture of the situation facing women in Muslim communities.
This book was originally published as a special issue of Feminist Economics.
Table of Contents
Foreword Inderpal Grewal
Introduction – Gender and Economics in Muslim Communities: A Critical Feminist and Postcolonial Analysis Ebru Kongar, Jennifer C. Olmsted and Elora Shehabuddin
1. Moving Beyond Culturalism and Formalism: Islam, Women, and Political Unrest in the Middle East Gamze Çavdar and Yavuz Yaşar
2. Patriarchy versus Islam: Gender and Religion in Economic Growth Elissa Braunstein
3. The Influence of Patriarchal Norms, Institutions, and Household Composition on Women’s Employment in Twenty-Eight Muslim-Majority Countries Niels Spierings
4. Unilateral Divorce for Women and Labor Supply in the Middle East and North Africa: The Effect of Khul Reform Lena Hassani-Nezhad and Anna Sjögren
5. Diverging Stories of "Missing Women" in South Asia: Is Son Preference Weakening in Bangladesh? Naila Kabeer, Lopita Huq and Simeen Mahmud
6. Funding Pain: Bedouin Women and Political Economy in the Naqab/Negev Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Antonina Griecci Woodsum, Himmat Zu’bi and Rachel Busbridge
7. Peace in the Household: Gender, Agency, and Villagers’ Measures of Marital Quality in Bangladesh Fauzia Erfan Ahmed
8. "Just Like Prophet Mohammad Preached": Labor, Piety, and Charity in Contemporary Turkey Damla Isik
9. Entrepreneurial Subjectivities and Gendered Complexities: Neoliberal Citizenship in Turkey Özlem Altan-Olcay
10. Choice and Constraint in Paid Work: Women from Low-Income Households in Tehran Roksana Bahramitash and Jennifer C. Olmsted
11. Agency through Development: Hausa Women’s NGOs and CBOs in Kano, Nigeria Adryan Wallace
Ebru Kongar is Associate Professor of Economics at Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, USA. Her research focuses on the gendered time-use and labor market outcomes of macroeconomic developments, such as deindustrialization, offshoring, and the Great Recession in the US economy. She is Research Associate at Levy Economics Institute’s Gender Equality and the Economy Program and an Associate Editor of Feminist Economics.
Jennifer C. Olmsted is Professor of Economics and Director of Middle East Studies at Drew University, Madison, NJ, USA, with experience as well in the policy arena, including as the gender advisor at the UN Population Fund. Much of her research has focused on gender, economics, and the Middle East. Her publications have appeared in various journals, including World Development, Industrial Relations, the Journal of Development Studies, Feminist Economics, Women’s Studies International Forum, and the Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies, as well as numerous book volumes.
Elora Shehabuddin is Associate Professor of Humanities and Political Science at Rice University, Houston, TX, USA. Her publications include Reshaping the Holy: Democracy, Development, and Muslim Women in Bangladesh (Columbia University Press, 2008). She is an Associate Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures (Brill). Her current book project is tentatively titled "Visions of Progress: Feminism, Empire, and Muslim Women."