Demographic Perspective on Women’s Work and Religion

Yaghoob Foroutan, University of Mazandaran

Giving the central focus on religious affiliation which “was once at the forefront of demographic research” (McQuillan, 2004), this paper examines the association between religion and women’s employment. Generally speaking, gender characteristics such as high fertility and low employment level for Muslim women in both intra-country and worldwide comparisons have been asserted in an extensive literature. The context, method and comparison groups of this study provide the opportunity to examine the long-standing debate as to whether religion per se or other determinants explain such gender characteristics in Islamic settings. Using logistic regression and the multicultural context of Australia (containing a substantially diverse ethnic composition of Muslims from origins throughout the world), this paper highlights Muslim/non-Muslim employment differentials. The paper also analyses the employment level of Muslim women across the regions of origin representing various contexts in order to provide empirical evidence to examine the above debate.

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Presented in Session 35: Demographic Perspectives on Religion