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Introduction and literature review

Attitudes towards Attitudes towards women involve


women who work expectations directed at women (Spence and
in Egypt Helmreich, 1972), and these ideas are often
based on negative stereotypes and broad
assumptions about women's characteristics
Mohamed M. Mostafa (Conway and Vartanian, 2000; Antilla,
2002). Research indicates that gender roles
commonly lead to the discouragement of
women's employment outside the home in
non-traditional jobs (Heilman, 1997;
Schreiber, 1998).
In the past years, numerous studies on the
attitudes towards women who work have been
conducted in the West. For example,
The author according to Mott (1998, p. 26):
. . . women of all ages remain under-represented
Mohamed M. Mostafa is Assistant Professor at the in skilled career fields due to misconception
College of Economics and Business, Al-Zaytoonah regarding gender-specific abilities and
University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan. preferences and under-valuation of women's
skills.

Keywords There is sometimes a reluctance to hire


Attitude surveys, Gender, National cultures, Islam, women in key managerial positions (Eyring
Women, Egypt and Stead, 1998), so female leaders are
consequently:
. . . given job assignments with lower visibility
Abstract
and fewer chances to make important contacts
This study investigates Egyptian society's attitudes (Ohlott et al., 1994, p. 49).
towards women who work held by a sample of 217
Women also tend to earn significantly less
participants. The subjects completed the newly developed
compared with men in equivalent
multidimensional aversion to women who work scale
occupations, they frequently find high-level
(MAWWWS). The study validates the scale in a
promotions difficult, and they experience
non-western context. The results reveal that, contrary to
barriers when seeking mentors (Anderson and
our expectation, Egyptian students have very similar
Tomaskovic-Devey, 1995; Bhatnagar and
attitudes towards women who work to those of the older
Swamy, 1995; Browne, 1997; Pfeffer and
generations. There are significant differences between
Ross, 1990; Kirchmeyer, 2002). Some studies
males' and females' perceptions towards women's roles
even show a distinct preference for male
and participation in society. The study predicts that
direction among subordinates (Cann and
modernity may diminish patriarchal attitudes towards
Siegfried, 1987; Jeanguart-Barone and
women in Arab societies. Finally, the study detects no
Sekaran, 1994), and this fondness translates
significant difference between Muslims and non-Muslims
into higher ratings for male managers
in Egypt regarding their attitudes towards women who
(McGlashan et al., 1995) and increased trust
work.
(Jeanguart-Barone and Sekaran, 1994).
Women sometimes doubt their own abilities
Electronic access and skills (Hammick and Acker, 1998;
The Emerald Research Register for this journal is Maccoby and Jacklin, 1974; Talmud and
available at Izraeli, 1999), suggesting that stereotypes
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/researchregister may be prevalent among both men and
women.
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is
While there is a large amount of research in
available at
this area in the West, little research has been
http://www.emeraldinsight.com/0964-9425.htm
conducted to assess the attitudes towards
Women in Management Review
Volume 18 . Number 5 . 2003 . pp. 252-266 Received: January 2003
# MCB UP Limited . ISSN 0964-9425 Revised: March 2003
DOI 10.1108/09649420310485096 Accepted: March 2003
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Attitudes towards women who work in Egypt Women in Management Review
Mohamed M. Mostafa Volume 18 . Number 5 . 2003 . 252-266

women in the Arab world and Egypt is no Research objectives


exception. The paucity of research on
attitudes towards women who work in Egypt The issue of measuring attitudes towards
can be ascribed, among other things, to the women's employment has been an important
relatively late entry of women into the labour concern in the twentieth century. It became of
force in qualitative and quantitative terms. particular importance in the Arab world when
This lack of academic attention to attitudes women began to enter into the labour force in
towards women who work in Egypt may also record numbers (Statt, 1994). For example,
be attributed to the prevailing assumption in 1960, women in Arab world constituted
that work life is less central to women than to only 12 per cent of the labour force. while in
men (Kaufman and Fetters, 1980) and that 1995 they constituted 30 per cent. In a recent
men are usually perceived as the primary study investigating the obstacles facing the
breadwinners (Kasl and Cobb, 1979; Tary, participation of the Arab women in the labour
1983). For example, in Egypt, women are force, it was revealed that women represent
pressured yet again to quit their jobs and 23 per cent of the total labour force in Egypt
become full-time mothers against instances of (Ramzy, 2002). In some Arab countries like
presumably child delinquency. Not Saudi Arabia, greater engagement of women
surprisingly, women (as a group), despite in society is seen as essential as the
their advancement in the field of education once-generous welfare state erodes and
and profession, still implicitly inhabit the women are forced to work (Khalaf, 2002). In
space of the ``reserve army of labour'', spite of their increased participation in the
precisely because of the primacy attached to labour force, however, women in Arab
the concept of motherhood and domesticity societies have lagged behind men in both
(Japer, 2001). The current study fills the gap salary and status (UN, 1995). A recent study
and tries to examine the validity of a recently estimated male-female earnings differentials
developed multidimensional aversion to for a sample of university graduates in Egypt,
women who work scale (MAWWWS) in an and found that just over one-quarter of the
Arab non-western context. gross earnings differential between men and
Research on attitudes to women's roles women remains ``unexplained''. This is
showed over the last two decades or so a usually taken to be the result of discrimination
universal trend of increasing liberalism and (Arabsheibani, 2000). In this study we aim to:
acceptance of more egalitarian role
. analyse Egyptian society's attitudes and
definitions, especially among women (e.g. expectations towards women who work;
Allan and Coltran, 1996). However, Arab
. examine the impact of some variables
societies seem to be reluctant to abandon such as sex, age, and religiosity on the
their traditional viewpoint of women attitudes towards women who work in
primarily committed to the house and Egypt; and
children (El-Jardawi, 1986; Abdalla, 1996;
. test the validity of the recently developed
El-Rahmony, 2002; Orabi, 1999). Most Arab multidimensional aversion to women who
men consider households and domestic work scale (MAWWWS) in a
activities suitable for women and most Arab non-western culture.
families educate their sons rather than their This study represents the first application of
daughters on the assumption that boys are a the scale in the Arab world and, hence, the
greater economic asset than girls reliability and convergent validity of the
(El-Ghannam, 2001, 2002). As a result of MAWWWS will be examined.
these traditional viewpoints towards women
in Arab societies, Connors (1987) found that
the majority of women are employed in three Research hypotheses
occupations: elementary school teacher,
secretary, and nurse. In 1995, the total H1. Egyptians will report traditional attitudes
number of women in the labour force, in Arab towards women who work as expressed
societies, was divided up as follows: more by higher scores on both the
than 40 per cent worked in social services, 21 employment skepticism and the
per cent worked in industry, and 39 per cent traditional roles preference dimensions
worked in agriculture (World Bank, 1996). of the MAWWWS.
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This hypothesis is in line with the findings of Modernisation theory argues that increases
cross-cultural research which showed that in urbanisation, education, and women's
sex-role is intimately related to broader involvement in the workforce lead to
cultural and social structures (Maneef, 1990; increasingly similar roles for men and women
Vega, 1990; Katsurada and Sugihara, 1999; and hence a favourable attitude towards
Nisan, 1987; Almaney, 1981). women.
The hypothesis is also consistent with In addition, modernity encourages society
previous studies that have shown that the to reconsider traditional gender roles, family
Arab culture, including the subculture of responsibilities, marriage customs, and
Arabs living in Israel, is a traditional and a women's access to education and labour
collectivistic culture (Bierenbauer, 1992; market participation (Mar'i, 1983).
Mikulincer et al., 1993). Arab culture is also Evidence that Arab culture is submitting to
characterised as a patriarchal culture modernisation is substantiated in a number of
(Barakat, 1985, 1993; Segal et al., 1990; studies. Shadid and Seltzer (1989) conducted
Sharabi, 2002). Patriarchy refers to men's a study among 1,018 Muslim students at
structural control over political, legal, three universities in the West Bank and 1,044
economic, and religious institutions (Glick non-students in the West Bank. They found
and Fiske, 1997). According to Johnson that important decisions were more likely to
(1995), the product of patriarchal traditions be made by men only in families of students
of men's right to control their women can be than in families of non-students (53 per cent
called ``patriarchal terrorism'', which involves versus 35 per cent), and that students were
the systematic use of economic more likely to choose their own future spouse
subordination, threats, and other control than allow their parents to make that decision,
tactics. Recently, The Economist (2001) findings that indicate less traditional roles for
concluded that in the Arab world, including those couples who benefit from more
Egypt, the patriarchal family is the strongest education.
state institution. It is argued that this Al-Aysa (1981) found in her study about
patriarchal culture prevailing in Arab societies the values of marriage among Qataris that
has even affected the way Arab literary critics
modern marriage is more liberal in terms of
read Arab literature produced by women
mate selection and individuality compared
(Mahadin, 2002). It is safe, then, to assume
with traditional arranged marriage. In another
that patriarchal power relations prevailing in
study conducted also in Qatar, Al-Hosayni
Arab societies (Dobash and Dobash, 1992;
and Al-Aysa (1981) found that the Qatari
Haj-Yahia, 2000) will reflect traditional
husbands' and wives' role has changed
values regarding relations between the sexes
because of the proliferation of education and
and attitudes toward women.
work opportunities. The study emphasised
H2. For the two samples under study, the important role played by modernisation
younger generations (students) will factors such as urbanisation, mass
report more liberal attitudes towards communication and education in this change.
women than older generations. In a study examining the effect of
This hypothesis is in line with findings of modernisation on the family structure in
previous research conducted to study the Kuwait, Al-Thakeb (1985) found that
factors influencing expectations towards modernisation plays a significant role in
women. spousal selection and in changing attitudes in
Slevin and Wingrove (1983) investigated general.
the similarities and differences among three Amin (1993) found that the Bahrani family
generations of women in attitudes towards the pattern since the discovery of oil has shifted
female role in contemporary society using the from the extended and traditional family to
abbreviated 25-item AWS. Not surprisingly, the nuclear and modern family.
the younger generation, 103 college Alwraikat and Simadi (2001) in a study to
undergraduates, were more liberal than the examine the relationship between some
older generations. Shalani (1988) found in his socio-demographic factors and modernity in
study in India that age is an important Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, found
factor in changing attitudes from traditional that the two Arab countries are submitting
to modern. to modernity.
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H3. Men in both samples will report more H4. Muslims in both samples will report
traditional attitudes towards women more conservative attitudes towards
than women. working women than non-Muslims.
This hypothesis is consistent with previous This hypothesis is based on the assumption
research which universally showed that men that Egypt is a traditional Arab and Muslim
had less egalitarian attitudes towards women society. In addition, Egyptian culture is
than women (e.g. Diwan and Menezes, 1992) largely affected by Arab culture and Arab
and with previous research which showed that culture relegated the woman's role to that of a
men are less pro-feminist in their attitudes housewife and mother and her place to the
than are women (Misra and Panigrahi, 1996; home, and the Islamic religion, it is argued,
McKinney, 1987). It is also consistent with reinforced and legitimised her inferior status
Haworth et al.'s (1986) findings that women (Metle, 2002).
have more liberal attitudes towards women's Because Islam is the predominant religion
role in society than their male counterparts. in Egypt and in the Arab world, it is important
Several researchers compared the attitudes to consider its teachings concerning attitudes
toward women from a cultural perspective. towards women in Muslim society.
Damji and Lee (1995) examined the gender In a national study of Muslim high school
role identity and perceptions of appropriate mature students, aged 20-22 in Senegal,
gender roles so as to gain a better Vandewiele (1983) explored adolescents'
understanding of Canadian Ismaili Muslim conceptions of women's status in Islam. Of
beliefs. Although the comparison of Muslim the 400 boys and 200 girls surveyed, the vast
men and women is deemed to be complex, majority (79 per cent) viewed women as
the women in this sample tended to resemble inferior to men, while only 13 per cent
other women in demonstrating a more considered men and women equal and 8 per
feminine identity and a more liberal outlook cent said that women were superior to men.
toward gender rules than the men. In another This study corroborates a number of studies
study, Chia et al. (1997, p. 29) concluded made to examine the impact of Islam on
women's status and on attitudes towards
that:
women (e.g. Minces, 1982).
. . . in both Chinese and American societies,
female college students expressed a preference A variety of interpretations of attitudes
for more equal and liberalised attitudes towards towards women emerge from the same
women and sex roles in general. religious texts and tradition (Ed-Din, 1982;
El-Saadawi, 1982; Hjarpe, 1983; Obermeyer,
Parveen's (2001) study aimed to investigate
1992). Marshall (1984, p. 3) argued:
the influence of age and sex attitudes toward
The interpretation of vague Koranic passages
working women and modernity values in and the discovery of obscure hadith have
Bangladesh, a predominantly Muslim historically been used by clergy both to justify
country. A total of 100 males and females female seclusion and to increase male rights.
were selected and interviewed, aged from
From this perspective, the study of Islam's
20-45 years. The influence of sex was
impact on forming attitudes becomes an
observed in the case of attitudes towards
important framework from which to evaluate
working women but not in the case of values.
the attitudes towards women in Islamic
To explore the Kuwaiti women's image
societies, as Islam cannot be separated from
among university students, Khalifa (1997) in
the culture of the people of the Middle East
a study including 280 male and 300 female
(Smith, 1980; Esposito, 1991).
undergraduates found that males scored
significantly higher than females on the
negative aspects of a 90-item stereotypes
scale, while females scored significantly Method
higher than males on the positive aspects of Sample
the scale. Subjects in this study were 217 participants.
Based on the results of the extensive Of these, 111 students from a mid-sized
research reviewed above, it is, then, safe to northern university in Egypt participated in
assume that Egyptian men will report more the study. The other 106 participants were
traditional attitudes towards working women selected randomly among older generations
compared with women. (40-60) and from both Muslim and
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non-Muslim communities for purposes of Table I Characteristics of the sample


testing the research hypotheses. Variable Frequency Valid (%)
Although the extent to which student
subjects represent the general population of Students 111 100
the young generation can be debated Male 61 55
(Greenberg, 1987; Gordon et al., 1987), the Female 50 45
use of students has been commonplace and Non-students 106 100
widely accepted in empirical research about Male 49 46
attitudes towards working women (e.g. Female 57 54
Abdalla, 1996; Ng, 1995). Student level
Student questionnaires were distributed Freshman 12 11
during classes and collected from participants Sophomore 35 31
immediately upon completion. The survey Junior 28 25
administrator remained present for the Senior 22 20
duration of the survey. Distribution of these Graduate 14 13
surveys resulted in a convenience sample of Religion
Muslims 128 60
111 usable reponses.
Non-Muslims 86 40
Around half of the participants were women
(49 per cent). Almost 20 per cent of the
student participants were seniors, 25 per cent Measures
were juniors, 13 per cent were graduate A number of scales have been developed
students, just under 31 per cent were over the last several decades that measure
sophomores, and 11 per cent were freshmen.
various gender role attitudes and behaviours.
Collecting data by mail surveys in the Arab
Spence and Helmreich (1972) developed the
world has been very difficult (Harzing, 1997;
widely used attitudes towards women scale
Nasif et al., 1991). In order to ensure an
(AWS), which measures beliefs about
acceptable number of responses, contacts
women in various educational, employment,
were made with seven organisations to secure
and social roles. Dubno et al. (1979)
their cooperation in collecting data from their
developed the popular managerial attitudes
employees. Of these firms, five agreed to
toward female executives scale (MATFES),
distribute the survey instrument. The five
which assesses the degree to which woman
organisations were two banks, two major
are accepted in corporate managerial roles.
hotel and hospitality firms, and a consulting
Similarly, the women as managers scale
company. A total of 231 questionnaires were
(WAMS) was developed by Peters et al.
distributed to employees in these
organisations. Confidentiality of responses (1974) to measure attitudes about women in
was emphasized in the cover letter with the leadership roles, and the scale is composed
title ``confidential survey'', and in the text. To of items that tap both stereotypical and
reduce social desirability artifacts (Chen et al., managerial traits (Terborg et al., 1977).
1997), the cover letter indicated that the Swim et al. (1995) recently developed a
survey seeks ``attitudes towards women in modern sexism instrument that assesses
Egypt'' and nothing else. Respondents were discrimination, antagonism, and resentment
also given the opportunity to request an associated with women's employment, and
individualized report. In total, 143 responses Yoder and McDonald (1997) provided some
were received by the cut-off date, but 37 support for the scale's psychometric
questionnaires were discarded because the properties.
respondents failed to complete the Despite the proliferation of these
MAWWWS scale appropriately. The effective instruments, many of them have various
sample size, thus, was 106 with a response limitations and shortcomings. According to
rate of 46 per cent. The breakdown of the Henley et al. (1998, p. 318), even though
responses from the five organisations was as there have been ``widespread development
follows: 50 from the two banks, 47 from the and use of such scales, there has been some
two major hotel and hospitality firms, and dissatisfaction with them'' among
nine responses from the consulting company. researchers. Some scales do not adequately
The characteristics of the sample are assess contemporary gender issues (Henley
presented in Table I. et al., 1998; McHugh and Frieze, 1997),
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whereas others do not adequately cultural studies is a statistical fiction


discriminate between various gender (Phillips, 1959).
phenomena and are too general and overly
long (Henley et al., 1998; Spence and
Buckner, 2000; Terborg et al., 1977). For Results
instance, Liss et al. (2000, p. 279) claimed
Validity and reliability
that the AWS is:
One of the objectives of this research was to
. . . no longer viewed as a measure of feminism
and it is considered an outdated measure of test the validity and reliability of the
attitudes toward women's roles. MAWWWS in a non-Western context. A
thorough reliability and validity analysis on
More recently, Valentine and Mosley measurement instruments in empirical
(1998) constructed a single dimension scale research is essential for several reasons. First,
that assesses aversion to women who work it provides confidence that the empirical
(AWWWS) with five items from the US findings accurately reflect the proposed
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, constructs. Second, empirically-validated
which is a widely used secondary data scales can be used directly in other studies in
source that has been compiled since 1979. the field for different populations and for
Later on the original five-item scale was longitudinal studies (Flynn et al., 1994).
refined and validated (Valentine, 2001) by The MAWWWS scale was factor-analysed
adding items that survey an employment by principal component analysis. In factor
skepticism component. We use the analysis, a rotation procedure is commonly
ten-item new version of the MAWWWS applied which maximises the correlations of
in this study as this may mitigate several of each item on a factor (Comrey, 1973). The
the concerns with previously developed MAWWWS construct comprises many
scales. interrelated items and, therefore, oblique
rotation was applied as the rotation
Procedure procedure. The results highlighted a
The Arabic version of the MAWWWS was two-factor solution with 79.3 per cent of the
created through careful translation and variance explained (see Table II).
back-translation techniques (Candell and The pattern matrix indicated that all of the
Hulin, 1987; Thomas and Weigert, 1972; item loadings for each factor were above 0.64.
Zhang, 1991). The eigenvalue for the first factor
First, the author translated the ten-item (employment skepticism) was 5.16, and this
MAWWWS into Arabic. Then, these Arabic factor explained 51.6 per cent of the variance,
items were back-translated into English by a whereas the second factor (traditional values
bilingual expert to make sure that original preference) explained 27.7 per cent of the
content was kept in translation to decrease variance and had an eigenvalue of 2.77. The
discrepancies between the English and Arabic Kaiser-Mayer-Olkin (KMO) measure of
measurements. No individual items were sampling adequacy was used to measure the
problematic in translation. adequacy of the sample for extraction of the
In translating the scale items into Arabic, two factors. The KMO values found (see
Table III) are generally considered acceptable
the author followed Malinowski's (1935)
(Kim and Mueller, 1978). All factors in each
technique of translation, which involves four
unifactorial test accounted for more than 68
steps:
per cent of the variance of the respective
(1) an interlinear, or word-by-word,
variable sets. This suggests that only a small
translation;
amount of the total variance for each group of
(2) a ``free'' translation in which clarifying
variables is associated with causes other than
terms, conjunctions, etc. are added and
the factor itself.
the words reinterpreted;
The Bartlett test of sphericity was used to test
(3) an analysis and collation of the two
the multivariate normality of the set of
translations; leading to
distributions. This procedure also tests whether
(4) a contextual specification of meaning.
the correlation matrix is an identity matrix
However, it should be admitted that (factor analysis would be meaningless with an
complete semantic equivalence in cross- identity matrix). A significance value of < 0.05
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Table II Factor analysis results


Rotated factor matrix
Factor 1 Factor 2
Q10 ±0.94456 0.04728
Q8 0.92366 0.17587
Q9 0.89380 0.16533
Q7 0.86992 0.06537
Q6 0.64479 0.53097
Q4 ±0.17327 0.90375
Q2 ±0.22132 ±0.88028
Q3 0.39600 0.85729
Q1 0.10211 0.85327
Q5 0.08919 0.74757

Factor Eigenvalue % of var. Cum. %


1 5.16190 51.6 51.6
2 2.76927 27.7 79.3

Table III Construct validity tests of the factors


Factors KMO Variance explained (%)
Employment skepticism 0.768 64.70
Traditional values preference 0.778 68.65

indicates that the data do not produce an the findings from previous research are
identity matrix or differ significantly from presented in Table IV.
identity (George and Mallery, 2000). The Based on the results of the statistical
analysis focusing on the sphericity of the analyses, the MAWWWS appears to be a
distribution (Bartlett's sphericity test) allowed fairly valid and reliable measure of traditional
us to reject the hypothesis according to which gender role attitudes and stereotypes. The
the matrix would be unitary (p < 0.0001). This most notable advantage of the scale is its
result implies that the data are thus length, which is comparatively shorter than
approximately multivariate normal and many other scales of its type. The
acceptable for factor analysis. MAWWWS also exhibits sound psychometric
Using SPSS, an internal consistency
properties unlike some other gender-related
analysis was performed to assess the reliability
instruments (for example, see Yoder and
aspect of the MAWWWS instrument.
McDonald (1997) for a discussion of the
Reliability refers to the instrument's ability to
modern sexism scale), which provides
provide consistent results in repeated uses
evidence of adequate content validity and
(Gatewood and Field, 1990). Coefficient
construct definition. From a conceptual
(Cronbach's) alpha is the basic measure for
reliability (Green et al., 2000). The items in standpoint, the measure also appears to be
each factor were grouped into two scales, and centrally positioned with regard to many
coefficient alpha was calculated for each gender role measures, which improves the
group. The ten-item MAWWWS had an scale's efficacy. Although its conceptual
acceptable coefficient alpha ( = 0.79), and underpinnings allow the MAWWWS to be
both traditional roles preference and used as a global gender role measure, it can
employment skepticism also had acceptable also be employed to assess more specific
reliability scores ( = 0.64 and = 0.71 attitudinal domains, employment skepticism,
respectively). Nunnally (1978) suggested and traditional roles preference.
that, in exploratory research such as this, an
alpha value of 0.6 is sufficient. The alpha Traditional attitudes hypothesis
values found for each scale indicated, The ten items on the MAWWWS scale were
therefore, that each factor is a sufficiently rated using a four-point Likert-type response
reliable measure. Reliability results along with format anchored by 1 (strongly disagree) and
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Table IV Reliability of current study compared with reliability estimates reported in past studies
Reliability estimate
Scale Past study (scale alpha)
Aversion to women who work scale (five items) Valentine and Mosley (1998) 0.82
Valentine and Mosley (1999) 0.81
Attitudes towards women scale (AWS) (15 items) Spence and Helmreich (1972) 0.89
Women as managers scale (WAMS) (21 or 22 items) Rice et al. (1980) 0.86
Peters et al. (1974) 0.91
Terborg et al. (1977) 0.92
Bhatnagar and Swamy (1995) 0.85
Symbolic threat (ten items) Stephan et al. (2000) 0.80
Rosenberg self-esteem scale (ten items) Valentine (1998) 0.87
Abu-Saad (1999) 0.70
Coefficient alpha in current study 0.79
Traditional role preference 0.64
Employment skepticism 0.71

Table V Scale-descriptive statistics


Variable Mean Std Dev. Minimum Maximum Valid n
Number of valid observations (list-wise) = 110.00 (1)
(a) Student sample
Q1 1.68 0.65 1.00 4.00 111
Q3 1.70 0.82 1.00 4.00 111
Q2 1.75 0.88 1.00 4.00 111
Q4 1.91 1.00 1.00 4.00 111
Q8 1.94 1.05 1.00 4.00 111
Q5 2.11 1.01 1.00 4.00 111
Q9 2.25 0.93 1.00 4.00 111
Q7 2.25 1.01 1.00 4.00 111
Q6 2.37 1.04 1.00 4.00 111
Q10 2.45 0.81 1.00 4.00 111

Number of valid observations (list-wise) = 106.00 (2)


(b) Non-student sample
Q1 1.25 0.44 1.00 2.00 106
Q9 1.47 0.52 1.00 3.00 106
Q3 1.47 0.68 1.00 3.00 106
Q6 1.58 0.51 1.00 3.00 106
Q8 1.69 0.68 1.00 3.00 106
Q7 1.80 0.64 1.00 3.00 106
Q5 1.80 0.79 1.00 3.00 106
Q4 2.24 1.01 1.00 4.00 106
Q10 3.41 .53 2.00 4.00 106
Q2 3.65 0.48 3.00 4.00 106

4 (strongly agree), and item-descriptive This result partially corroborates previous


statistics are presented in Table V. research conducted in the Arab world (e.g.
Low items scores indicated that participants Mar'i, 1983), which predicated that modernity
adopted somewhat non-traditional gender may diminish patriarchal attitudes towards
roles. This was confirmed using the t-test women. As a society evolves from agrarian to
procedure, which shows that the mean scores industrial, modernisation theory argues that
for the participants are significantly less than increases in urbanisation, education, and
the average theoretical score (p < 0.05). women's involvement in the workforce lead to
Hence, H1 cannot be accepted. increasingly similar roles for men and women.
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An alternative explanation for the forces of adolescent girls express more liberal views
``development and modernisation'' is the pertaining to women's roles and position in
social diffusion model (Montgomery and society than their male peers (Rapoport et al.,
Casterline, 1996). This model predicts that a 1989).
proportion of individuals who are exposed to These results suggest that, while Arab
new ideas through media, community women are willing to accept more
contacts, or discussions with friends and responsibilities in the occupational,
neighbours will ultimately be persuaded to educational, and social spheres, Arab men are
alter previous behaviour. With regard to not willing to share these responsibilities with
attitudes towards women who work, diffusion them.
models would predict that some individuals
will be motivated to bargain in favour of Religiosity hypothesis
altered behaviour in response to new ideas No significant difference is detected between
absorbed from their social environment Muslims and non-Muslims in Egypt
(Rogers, 1962). regarding their attitudes towards women who
This result shows that there exists some work (p > 0.05). It seems that Muslims and
evidence that attitudes towards women who Christians in Egypt share the same cultural
work in Egypt are, in general, changing heritage. For example, a recent study found
towards a less traditional stance. Actually, it that female circumcision (more widely
was predicted that: referred to in the international literature as
. . . with the passing of time and especially female genital cutting or female genital
through the effects of equal education, it is likely
mutilation) is widespread in Egypt among
that tradition will have diminishing weight
against the forces of modernisation (Al-Dhafiri, both Muslims and Christians despite the
1987, p. 27). claim that it is sanctioned by Islam (El-Gibaly
et al., 2002).
Generation gap hypothesis Hence, we should distinguish between
Using the t-test procedure, it was found that Islam, Islamic tradition and culture. The
the mean scores for students and older purpose of this distinction is not to ease the
generations are almost identical. Hence, H2 confusion in the conceptualisation of Islam's
cannot be accepted, as no generation gap was view towards women, but rather to facilitate
detected (p > 0.05). the understanding between patriarchy and
This result partially contradicts Abdalla's, Islam.
(1996) study which shows that, while a Scholars claim that Muslims range from
generation gap was detected between the those who believe that Islam, as it is practiced
AWS scores of mothers and their daughters, today, is just and fair to women, to those who
no generation gap was found between the believe that Islam, as it is practiced today, is
AWS scores of fathers and sons. patriarchal and contrary to its original
Although it was hypothesised that college teachings regarding gender issues. There is
students will have much more liberal views little question, however, over the general
towards women who work in Egypt through acceptance of Mohammed's teachings by
their encounter with non-traditional attitudes either Muslim men or women. The general
during their college years compared with assumption for most Muslim women is that
older generations, it seems that the perceived gender equality is inherent in the Qur'aÅn;
failure of development in Egypt and the therefore, inequality problems for them only
rejection of westernisation has led to emerge when there is ``malpractice, or
resurgence of Islamic fundamentalism misunderstanding, of the sacred text''.
promoting conservative values especially
among the youth.
Implications
Gender differences hypothesis
T-test shows that Egyptian females have more Research implications
favourable attitudes towards women who This research contributes to the literature on
work compared with their male counterparts, cross-cultural studies of gender by
which supports H3 (p < 0.05). These findings systematically assessing the attitudes towards
corroborate earlier studies that show the Arab working women in Egypt.
260
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Mohamed M. Mostafa Volume 18 . Number 5 . 2003 . 252-266

Perhaps the findings of this research will recall of stereotypical information. In other
lend increased confidence to researchers who words, those who are considered gender-
have been using the MAWWWS with typed and gender-schematic tend to organise
reservations, or who may have avoided the their sense of self around socially prescribed
instrument because of concerns about sex-role characteristics and other socially
validity. designated behaviours that differentiate men
and women and that are implicitly and
Policy implications uncritically accepted (Bem, 1983). The
There is much misconception about the role existing sex roles exert real pressures on
of women and attitudes towards working individuals to behave in prescribed ways
women in Egypt. The main misconception is (Broverman et al., 1972). Hence, policy
that Arab women are not supposed to publicly makers should increase the role of local media
participate in the political and administrative in Arab communities to urge women to
processes. Usually, this argument is presented involve themselves in economic life and to
on Islamic grounds and is based on the form favourable attitudes towards working
assumption that Islam, as a religion, restricts women in Egypt.
and limits the role of women in public affairs Women's movement organisations might
(Al-Lail, 1996). Educated and skilled Arab also play a role in enhancing favourable
women are thus relegated to positions which attitudes towards women in Egyptian society.
are assumed to be of a non-political nature Hence, policy makers should aim to create
such as teaching, nursing, and lesser conditions to enhance the position of these
administrative jobs. As a result, there is a organisations. That can be accomplished by
tendency to under-utilise human resources in following a comprehensive method aiming at
national development. deepening women's consciousness of their
In order to compete in the highly political and legal rights.
competitive global economy of the twenty-
first century, Egyptian organisations cannot
afford to forgo a major managerial talent pool Future research
represented by women. Organisations with
policies that hinder selection and promotion The results of the present study should be
of women in management will greatly reduce viewed with caution because of the limited
utilisation of valuable personnel. generalisability of studies involving college
Preconceived gender stereotyping would be student participants. It is possible that gender
detrimental to organisations that underutilise role perceptions are more conservative (and
this readily available pool of women traditional) in the South than in other areas of
managerial talent. To grow and prosper, the country; the MAWWWS may be less valid
Egyptian organisations need the active in some regions than in others. This should be
involvement of all employees, both men and kept in mind when viewing the results of the
women. present study, and may be a direction for
Understanding and building favourable future research.
attitudes towards women may also help The present results suggest that the need
multinational firms implement strategic for validation of the MAWWWS should not
human resource management policies and end with this study, but should continue to be
systems that prevent the underutilisation of investigated as the gender role perceptions in
their talent in Egypt. Egyptian society change over the coming
Another set of policy implications deals years.
with the reason behind stereotyping and Several different forms of validity can serve
forming attitudes towards working women in as criteria for assessing the psychometric
Egypt. From the social psychologist's point of soundness of a scale (Grapentine, 1995). In
view, stereotyping has often been regarded as this research we performed only one form:
a type of schema involved in processing media convergent-validity analysis. This form of
information and in organising memory validity pertains to the extent to which scale
(Martin and Halverson, 1981). Renn and items assumed to represent a construct do in
Calvert (1993) interpreted gender stereotypes fact ``converge'' on the same construct.
using an information-processing model and Future researchers using the MAWWWS may
suggested that a gender schema enhanced test the scale's discriminate validity or
261
Attitudes towards women who work in Egypt Women in Management Review
Mohamed M. Mostafa Volume 18 . Number 5 . 2003 . 252-266

predictive/concurrent validity. and he assumes responsibility for maintaining


Discriminate-validity analysis shows the the family structure by whatever means he
extent to which a scale is new and not just a feels are justified. The wife's role is taking
reflection of other variables. The predictive or care of her family structure. In short,
concurrent facet of validity refers to the extent Egyptian society still generally values
to which scale scores are associated as patriarchy.
hypothesized with other conceptually related This study finds no significant differences
measures. between Muslims and non-Muslims in their
Future research should also investigate attitudes towards women who work.
hypotheses that derive from the traditional However, given that Egyptian society and
gender role stereotyping present in Egyptian culture are an integral part of the larger
culture. Islamic-Arab heritage, the attitudes towards
Egyptian women in society must be studied
and interpreted within that broader context.
Summary and conclusions Muslim societies throughout Islamic history
have played a central role in defining attitudes
The goal of this study was to explore the
towards women in Muslim society. The
attitudes towards women who work in Egypt.
debate presently taking place in the
The sample for the present study consisted of
contemporary Arab World between Islamists
217 participants. The data of the study were
and secularists, between advocates and
collected by a ten-item recently developed
opponents of veiling, and the ways in which
multidimensional aversion to women who
the issue of veil and women was encoded with
work scale (MAWWWS) (see Appendix),
political meanings and references, have a
validating the scale for the first time in an
Arab non-Western context. great bearing on any discourse related to
From the research findings we can conclude attitudes towards women.
that there exists a moderate change from The fact that no generation gap was
expected restrictive traditional attitudes detected in the attitudes towards women who
towards women who work in Egypt to a more work might be shaped by several factors: the
liberal view. Despite the influence of increasing rise in religion-based movements
fundamentalism, there are many indicators and their close affinity with patriarchal
that the situation may change in favour of tendencies and, significantly, the failure of
women in the near future, particularly as international development agencies, along
more educational and employment with state-sponsored projects. It is in this
opportunities are created. However, a context that the popular rise in
considerable gender gap in attitudes persists anti-Western/anti-colonial sentiments
even when other factors are held constant, prompted by the Islamist movement have led
with females consistently more supportive to a counter-discourse of favourable attitudes
than males. This finding suggests that males towards women usually held by younger
should not be overlooked in modernisation generations.
and equal opportunity programmes in Egypt. This study was conducted in Egypt, so
Despite the liberal view reflected by some caution should be observed in
participants in this study, the results of this generalising its results to other Arab societies.
research should by no means be interpreted as However, Muna (1980) suggests that Arab
Egypt moving away rapidly from a patriarchal societies (moderate and traditional) have an
and traditional society. Egyptian society is inner similarity and share certain values
generally regarded as highly patriarchal, with despite the obvious differences in the
clear-cut gender role differences. The economic and political attainments of their
institutions of marriage and the family are members.
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Attitudes towards women who work in Egypt Women in Management Review
Mohamed M. Mostafa Volume 18 . Number 5 . 2003 . 252-266

Valentine, S. and Mosley, G. (1998), ``Aversion to women Appendix. Multidimensional aversion to


who work and perceived discrimination among
Euro-Americans and Mexican-Americans'',
women who work
Perceptual and Motor Skills, Vol. 86, pp. 1027-33. Employment skepticism
Valentine, S. and Mosley, G. (1999), ``Acculturation and
(1) Women lack the skills and abilities
sex-role attitudes among Mexican-Americans:
a longitudinal analysis'', Hispanic Journal of needed at work.
Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 22, pp. 104-13. (2) Women are not suited for work outside
Vandewiele, M. (1983), ``Perception of women's religious the home.
status by Senegalese adolescents'', Psychological
(3) I am skeptical about women's
Reports, Vol. 53, pp. 757-8.
Vega, W. (1990), ``Hispanic families in the 1980s: a effectiveness in the workplace.
decade of research'', Journal of Marriage and the (4) Women's personal characteristics make
Family, Vol. 52, pp. 1015-24. life at work difficult.
World Bank (1996), World Development Report, World
(5) Women frequently find the demands of
Bank, Washington, DC.
Yoder, J. and McDonald, T. (1997), ``The generalizability work difficult.
and construct validity of the modern sexism scale:
some cautionary notes'', Sex Roles, Vol. 36, Traditional roles preference
pp. 655-63. (6) Traditional husband/wife roles are the
Zhang, J. (1991), ``Modernization, interpersonal power,
and conformity: a cross-cultural study of significant best.
others' influence on adolescents'', unpublished (7) Women are happier in traditional roles.
doctoral dissertation, Brigham Young University, (8) A woman's place is in the home.
Provo, UT. (9) An employed wife leads to juvenile
delinquency.
(10) Women with families do not have time
Further reading for other employment.
Note: Items are rated on a four-point scale: 1
Furnham, A. and Karani, R. (1992), ``A cross-cultural study
of attitudes toward women, just world, and locus of (strongly disagree), 2 (disagree), 3 (agree),
control beliefs'', Psychologica, Vol. 28. pp. 11-20. 4 (strongly agree).

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