What Do Muslim Women Want? Western Rights, but Not Western Culture

ByABC News
June 7, 2006, 12:28 PM

June 7, 2006 — -- A new Gallup survey -- which conducted 1,000 face-to-face interviews in countries including Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey -- found most Muslim women wanted the right to vote freely, to drive on their own, to work outside the home, and even to undertake leadership roles within their society.

In Lebanon, 97 percent of women thought they should be able to vote -- the highest percentage of the countries surveyed. Pakistan had the lowest rate, with 68 percent.

In Afghanistan, 92 percent of women and 87 percent of men thought women should have voting rights.

Though Muslim women acknowledged women had more rights in the West, the study found they didn't want their own societies to adopt Western values. The Gallup study concluded Muslim women tended to regard Western culture as morally corrupt and obsessed with sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

Dalia Mogahed, executive director of Gallup Muslim Studies, who conducted the survey, says Muslim women see a breakdown of traditional values in the West. "Sexual freedom portrayed in Western media is actually degrading to women, not a form of liberation."

Their criticism wasn't reserved only for the West, however. Most women in the study also objected to extremism, divisiveness, and rampant political and economic corruption in their own societies.