Cultural Change in North Africa: The Interaction Effect of Women’s Empowerment and Democratization
This chapter offers a new theoretical framework for understanding progressive cultural change in the MENA as an interaction effect between women’s empowerment and democratization. Increased women’s empowerment at the personal-legal, socioeconomic, and political levels, in effect, democratizes the nuclear family and macro-level society by altering patriarchal power hierarchies and fostering a culture of equality and inclusivity. Cultural change among North African states towards women’s empowerment informs and is informed by cultural change towards democratization. In addition, democratization in the MENA region will likely be a feminized social democracy, with greater attention to women’s issues, instead of the Western liberal model. Instead of the widely used combined Freedom House and Polity IV scores, the used measure should focus on a state’s redistributive capacity and the provision of social services such as education and health care, which are frequently termed women’s issues. This chapter uses the World Values Survey data to assess spatial and temporal cultural change as well as variation between the genders and among generations towards women’s empowerment and social democratization.
KeywordsCultural change Women’s empowerment Democratization North Africa
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