Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family and Consumer Sciences Education and Studies

First Advisor

Sally K. Williams

Second Advisor

Donna L. Cowan


The purposes of this study were to determine if Northern Sudanese women with (1) different family backgrounds (traditional, transitional, or modern), (2) different geographic locations (urban high-income, urban low-income, and rural low-income areas), and (3) different educational backgrounds differed in their attitudes toward traditional gender roles and changes occurring in these roles. This research was based on an analysis of portions of data collected in 1990 by researchers at Ahfad University for Women (AUW) in Omdurman, Sudan, for purposes of determining the critical aspects of women's status that would predict fertility rates in the Sudan;Data were collected using a five-section interview questionnaire to obtain information about: demographic variables; housing and living conditions; parental roles; cultural, attitudinal, and belief stereotypes; parental modernity towards child rearing and education; and family characteristics. Usable data were received from 535 (89%) of the 600 women individually interviewed. Descriptive statistics were computed for the 229 variables contained in the questionnaire. The factor analysis was applied producing 26 factors related to indicators of tradition and change. Seven high-reliability factors were retained for further analysis. These were (1) group meals/tradition; (2) gender stereotypes; (3) socioeconomic status; (4) women and political participation; (5) women's suitability for politics/social equality; (6) children's rights/forward-looking/change agent; and (7) internal efficacy/autonomy;Results indicate that significant differences existed among the women from the three family backgrounds on all factors except internal efficacy/sense of autonomy. Women from the urban high-income group, 85% of whom were also classified as modern and had the highest literacy rates, showed the least positive attitudes toward traditional gender roles. This group was followed by the urban low-income group, 60% of whom were classified as transitional, with literacy rates lower than the urban high-income group but higher than those of the rural low-income group. The rural low-income group, 55% of whom were classified as traditional, had the lowest level of literacy rates and also were most positive in their attitudes toward traditional gender roles. No significant differences were noted to exist among the three groups of women on indicators of internal efficacy and/or sense of autonomy.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Cecilia A. Adae Darkoh



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

150 pages