April 21, 2008
Oil, Islam, and Gender
Women have made less progress towards gender equality in the Middle East than in any other region. Many observers claim this is due to the region's Islamic traditions. Michael Ross argues, on the contrary, that oil production has caused women to lag behind in many other countries, including Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia. In other words, oil - not Islam - is harmful for women in the Middle East. Speaking at Georgetown University, Ross argued that oil production reduces economic opportunities for women and thus limits their political influence. As a result, oil-producing states maintain atypically strong patriarchal norms. In the context of a focused comparison of oil-rich Algeria and oil-poor Morocco and Tunisia, Ross presented global data on oil production, female work patterns, and female political representation.
Michael Ross is a professor of Political
Science and the director of the UCLA Center
for Southeast Asian Studies. He previously served as chairman of the International Development Studies Interdepartmental
Program at UCLA. His research
deals with political economy, democratization, natural resources, and poverty
in the developing world - particularly (but not exclusively) in Southeast Asia. He is the author of The Oil Curse: How Petroleum Wealth Shapes the Development of Nations (2012) and Timber Booms
and Institutional Breakdown in Southeast Asia (Cambridge, 2001), as well as numerous articles and essays; he received the Heinz Eulau Award from the American Political Science Association in 2009 for the best article published in the American Political Science Review. Ross received his Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University in 1996.
Michael Ross is a professor of Political Science and the director of the UCLA Center for Southeast Asian Studies. He previously served as chairman of the International Development Studies Interdepartmental Program at UCLA. His research deals with...