Oil, the bane of Muslim women

Oil, the bane of Muslim women March 7, 2008

Check out this fascinating examination of the role of oil in retarding the advancement of women in developing countries like Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Yet another example of how the contemporary Muslim problems often facilely ascribed to "Islam" or "Muslim culture" can be sociologically explained. That is, if you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and consider them scientifically rather gleefully file them away as ammunition for culture wars.

The sooner they run out of this foul "resource" the better.

The natural resource curse is such a bitch | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist

The quick version is that Ross makes a strong case that women are hurt by a previously unappreciated effect of the infamous "resource curse" that imperils democracy in countries with abundant fossil fuels.

Saudi Arabia and Nigeria are textbook examples of the "curse": when ruling elites and governments can get rich quick by exporting oil (or natural gas, or even tropical timber), they don’t so much have a reason to care about the well-being of their citizens, or anything else for that matter. Many. Bad. Things. Ensue.

Speaking today at Brown University’s Watson Institute, Ross emphasized that when developing economies are dominated by oil and don’t diversify into things like textiles and manufacturing, women don’t go into the labor force, their social status remains low, and — because women are stuck at home or in informal employment — their political movements remain nascent. The preponderence of oil in the Middle East and parts of North Africa would explain why traditional gender roles remain enforced even as oil wealth brings the accoutrements of liberal modernity.

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