Gender and Well-Being in Iran and Egypt: An Examination of the Patriarchal Bargain

Kristine Ajrouch, Eastern Michigan University

Gender relations are shaped by the socio-political circumstances in which people live, and so it would follow that determinants of well-being vary depending on the national context in which Muslims reside. This paper uses the patriarchal bargain framework to study the association between gender and well-being in two Islamic countries using unique representative samples: Egypt (N=3,000); Iran (N=2,532). Building from the patriarchal bargain premise that women negotiate positions of power and influence within structures of oppression, and that women’s status increases with age, we ask the following research questions: What subjective indicators of well-being are most influenced by gender? Do attitudes about gender norms vary according to age? Are gender differences in well-being influenced by age and gender norms? Findings illustrate that well-being is significantly associated with gender depending on national context: being a woman is associated with higher levels of happiness and life satisfaction in Iran, but lower self-ratings of health in Egypt.

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Presented in Session 64: Arabs Here and Abroad