Attitudes towards Gender Equality and Perception of Democracy in the Arab World
This paper analyzes the relationship between support of democracy and attitudes to human rights, in particular, support for gender equality, in the countries covered by the first wave of the Arab Barometer project. We use cluster analysis and negative binomial regression modelling to show that, unlike in most countries of the world, correlation between support of democracy and gender equality is very low in the Arab countries. There is a group of people in the region who support both democracy and gender equality, but they are a small group (about 17% of the population) of elderly and middle-aged people characterized by higher education and social status. A substantial number of poorly educated males express support for democracy but not for gender equality. Many people, especially young males aged 25–35 in 2007, are against both gender equality and democracy. Younger people tend to be both better educated and more conservative, those belonging to the 25–34 age group are the most patriarchal in their gender attitudes. Controlling for age, education still has a positive effect on gender equality attitudes. Nevertheless, this phenomenon probably means that there are two simultaneous processes going on in the Middle East. On the one hand, people are getting more educated, urbanized etc., which means the continuation of modernization. On the other hand, we observe a certain retrogression of social values.