Date of Award
Master of Arts
Amy E. Smith
Little work examines women's representation in elected office in non-Western countries, especially in the Arab region. Cross-national studies considering Arabic countries have argued that Islam and culture are the main reasons the Arab region has the lowest rate of women's representation in the world. However, this topic cannot be fully understood without taking into account informal politics, especially tribalism and the practices of social elites in this region. This study investigates the determinants of voting for female candidates using data from the first electoral survey ever conducted in Oman, prior to the October 2015 elections for Majlis al Shura (the elected consultative council). It incorporates cross-nationally recognized factors (gender ideology and religion) with a factor heretofore largely unexplored (tribalism).
The analysis shows the strong effect of cultural factors in explaining women's legislative representation, as suggested in previous cross-national studies. Individuals with high religiosity and traditional attitudes toward women are less supportive for women in the council. In contrast to what this researcher had expected, tribalism has no direct effect on self-reported likelihood of supporting women candidates. However, there is an indication of its importance; tribal nomination is associated with traditional gender attitudes more generally. The more important tribal nomination is to an individual in selecting a candidate, the less egalitarian attitudes toward women an individual has. Implications of these findings and suggestion for further research are discussed.
Ahlam Khalfan Al Subhi
Al Subhi, Ahlam Khalfan, "Women's representation in majlis al shura in Oman: how do gender ideology, Islam, and tribalism matter?" (2016). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 15134.