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Project report on
Impact of Gender and Generational
Differences in Work Values and
Attitudes in an Arab Culture
Submitted by
Ambrish Ratna (1226114103)
Mohammed Naseer Khan (1226114117)
Malllela Udaya Naga Kartheek(1226114122)
Saka Sandesh(1226114132)
Ashish Pradhan (1226214101)
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Executive summary
Saudi Arabia has seen a rapid expansion of information systems. However, the
culture in Saudi Arabia has the effect of making the security of this information
very vulnerable which, in turn, can have an effect on the success ofSaudi
organisations. This paper has shown that Saudi Arabian culture adds an
additional layer of complexity to the security of any information system. A
number of problems specific to Saudi Arabian culture have been identified. The
question now arises as to what should be done about these problems. This is the
subject of ongoing research.
Other problems in Saudi Arabian information system security may prove more
difficult to solve. However, IT itself is already helping to overcome some
problems such as the use of email to enable male-female communication. It is
possible that IT may provide yet more possible ways to overcome the security
problems of Saudi Arabia, but this is for future investigation. Information
systems security should be a concern of every company and organisation.
However, this paper has highlighted additional problems created by the culture
in Saudi Arabia. It is believed that any organisation working in Saudi Arabia
should note the potential risks to IT security reported in this paper and should
address the problems with care and sensitivity to take the culture into account.
This paper has made some suggestions on ways forward for investigation to
resolve the problems identified
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Introduction:-
The Arab conquests:7th century:-
One of the most dramatic and sudden movements of any people in history is the
expansion, by conquest, of the Arabs in the 7th century (only the example of the
Mongols in the 13th century can match it). The desert tribesmen of Arabia form
the bulk of the Muslim armies. Their natural ferocity and love of warfare,
together with the sense of moral rectitude provided by their new religion, form
an irresistible combination. When Muhammad dies in 632, the western half of
Arabia is Muslim. Two years later the entire peninsula has been brought to the
faith, and Muslim armies have moved up into the desert between Syria and
Mesopotamia.
The great Christian cities of Syria and Palestine fall to the Arabs in rapid
successionfrom635. Damascus, in that year, is the first to be captured. Antioch
follows in 636. And 638 bring the greatest prize of all, in Muslim terms, when
Jerusalem is taken after a year's siege.
It is a moment of profound significance for the young religion, for Islam sees
itself as the successorofJudaism and Christianity. The city of the people of
Moses, in which Jesus also preaches and dies, is a holy place for Muslims too.
Moses and Jesus are Muhammad's predecessors as prophets. A Muhammad
himself will also soonemerge in Jerusalem.
Muslim Persia:637-751
Persia falls to the Arabs as a consequenceof the battle of Kadisiya, close to the
Euphrates, in 637. After their victory the Arabs sack the city of Ctesiphon
(carefully sharing out the famous spring). The last Sassanian emperor,
Yazdegerd III, is five at the time. He and his court escape to the east, but he is
eventually assassinated, in 651, at Merv. His name remains, even today, in use
in the chronology of the Parsees. They number their years from the start of his
reign in 632.
Meanwhile the Arabs win another victory over Persian forces at Nahavand in
641. They capture Isfahan in 642 and Herat in 643. Persia becomes, for a
century, part of the Umayyad. The final push eastwards for Islam, in the central
Asian plateau, is in more difficult terrain and is more protracted. Throughout the
second half of the 7th century there is fighting in and around the Hindu Kush,
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but by the early years of the 8th century the Arabs control the full swathe of
territory from the Arabian Sea in the south (they enter Sind and move
into India as far north as Multan by 712), up through Kandahar and Balkh
(either side of the Hindu Kush) to Bukhara and Samarkand in the north, beyond
the Amu Darya. At this northern extreme they are neighbours of the T'ang
Chinese. The eventual clash between these two powers, an encounter won by
the Arabs, comes in 751 at the Talas River.
Muslim North Africa: from642
The Arab conquestof Egypt and North Africa begins with the arrival of an army
in640 in front of the Byzantine fortified town of Babylon (in the area which is
now Old Cairo). The Arabs capture it after a siege and establish their own
garrison town just to the east, calling it Al Fustat.
The army then moves on to Alexandria, but here the defences are sufficient to
keep them at bay for fourteen months. At the end of that time a surprising treaty
is signed. The Greeks of Alexandria agree to leave peacefully; the Arabs give
them a year in which to do so. In the autumn of 642, the handover duly occurs.
One of the richest of Byzantine provinces has been lost to the Arabs without a
fight. The Arabs continue rapidly westwards along the coastof North Africa,
capturing Cyrenaica in 642 and Tripoli in 643. But these remain largely
ineffective outposts.Fornearly three decades the Arabs make little progress in
subduing the indigenous Berber inhabitants of this coastal strip.
The turning point comes in 670 with the founding of a new Arab garrison town
at Kairouan, about sixty miles south of the Byzantine city of Carthage. From
this secure base military controlbecomes possible. Carthage is destroyed (yet
again) in 698. By the early 8th century northwest Africa is firmly in Arab hands.
In 711 an Arab general takes the next expansionist step. With a Berber army he
crosses the straits of Gibraltar and enters Spain.
Arabs in Spain and France:711-732
The short journey across the water from Africa, bringing an army into Spain in
711, begins the final thrust of Arab expansionism in the west. In a frequently
repeated pattern of history the invaders, invited to assist one side in a quarrel,
rapidly take control and suppress bothsquabbling parties. Within a few months
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the Arabs drive the Visigoths from their capital at Toledo.
Soongovernors appointed by the caliph in Damascus are ruling much of Spain.
The Arabs press on northwards. Their armies move into Gaul, and here at last
they are halted - near Poitiers in 732.
The Arabs and Constantinople:674-717
in the overwhelming assault on the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs during the
7th century, only one campaign is consistently unsuccessful. This is their
frequently repeated attempt to capture Constantinople itself.
The city is first unsuccessfully attacked, by sea and land, in669. The last of
several expeditions ends in disaster for the Arabs in 717, when a fleet of some
2000 ships is destroyed by a storm and the army straggles homewards through a
wintry Anatolia. From the mid-670s the Byzantines have one strong
psychological advantage - a mysterious new device in their armoury which
becomes known as Greek fire.
Greek fire: 674
In674 a Muslim fleet enters the Bosphorus to attack Constantinople. It is
greeted, and greatly deterred, by a new weapon which can be seen as the
precursorof the modern flamethrower. It has never been discovered precisely
how the Byzantine chemists achieve the jet of flame for their 'Greek fire'. The
secret of such a lethal advantage is jealously guarded.
Contemporary accounts imply that the inflammable substanceis petroleum-
based, floats on water, and is almost impossible to extinguish. It can be lobbed
in a canister. But in its most devastating form it is projected, as a stream of
liquid fire, from a tube mounted in the prow of a ship. Sprayed among a wooden
fleet, its destructive potential is obvious.
Arabs and Muslims: 8th century:-
during the explosive first century of Arab expansion, the relationship subtly
changes between two concepts - Arab and Muslim. At first they are inseparable.
The Muslim armies are made up entirely of Arab tribesmen, and it is taken for
granted that only Arabs can be Muslims. Between campaigns the Arab armies
stay together in winter camps or garrison towns. They are an occupying force,
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having little link with the inhabitants of the conquered territories. But by the
early 8th century, when the Muslim expansion has reached something
approaching its peak, there are not enough Arabs to provide the troops.
Out of necessity, people of other groups begin to be received into Islam,
fighting alongside the Arabs. Berbers do so in the west and Persians in the east.
Inevitably there are resentments. Non-Arabs often feel they are treated as
second-class Muslims, particularly when it comes to sharing out loot after a
campaign. And the conversion of outsiders to Islam brings a financial burden.
Non-Muslims are charged a poll tax, which is not paid by believers. The spread
of the faith is a drain on the treasury. These various tensions, and the inevitable
difficulty of controlling the vast new empire, result in a rebellion in 747 against
the Umayyad caliph.
Culture problems in Saudi Arab
Gender communication in Arab:-
In addition to gender hierarchy issues, according to the interpretation of the
Islamic religion in Saudi Arabia, physical gender segregation in society and
organisations is essential. This means that males and females who are not
related should not have direct contact with each other. Women in Saudi Arabia
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can work in male/female organisations but they must not interact with men.
Most women work in all female settings where they do not have to interact with
men. Women tend to work in girls’ schools, women’s sections of universities
and banks catering for female clients, social work and development
programmes for women, medicine and nursing for women, television and radio
programming, and computer and library work .For organisations such
segregation does have an impact on efficiency of service provisioning, if only
through the duplication of services for differing genders. Although Princess
Nora bin Abdul Rahman University (PNU) is an all-female university, some of
the high level operational management is handled by men. As a result of the
non-communication culture, even senior women employees usually struggle to
communicate with men. Most of the communication is conducted either online,
via email or verbal communication via land lines phones and mobiles. Because
of Saudi culture, direct communication is effectively forbidden, not by the PNU
management, but by the female’s spouses. Poor communication between female
employees and male employees who control the information systems at PNU
could easily jeopardize the security of the information held.
Right to Education
As a worldly religion, taking into consideration the practical aspects of life,
Islam gives women the right to have an education. In fact, it emphasizes the
value of education for both men and women. Arab countries supportthis right in
their legislation. The last fifty years have witnessed a significantly rising rate of
female literacy, as education expanded in the Arab region. According to the
Arab Human Development Report2002, Arab women's literacy rates have
expanded threefold since 1970. Moreover, female primary and secondary
enrolment rates have more than doubled. This period is especially significant for
the Gulf States, since it marks the beginning of the oil boom, which led them to
launch programs of development in all spheres, particularly in the field of
education. However, even with steps taken to expand educational opportunities
for all, the actual situation of the educational status of the females in the Arab
countries reveals a discrepancy with respect to gender. In the first place, the
illiteracy rate is higher among females. In the second place, the numbers of
males in all the stages exceed those of females in most countries. As an
indication of the educational status in the Arab countries as above given, the
following table presents the gender inequality in education, with respect to the
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literacy rate, as well as the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross
enrolment ratio in education.
In the above table, male literacy is seen higher than female literacy. The gap
appears smaller in those Gulf countries like Bahrain and Kuwait. In Qatar, it is
interesting to note, that the literacy rate is higher among females than it is
among males, as represented by 82.6 and 80.1 respectively----an exceptional
situation difficult to explain. Gross enrolment in education does not reflect any
variation between the sexes in Qatar and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, as
represented by75 and 92 respectively for both sexes. In addition, the gap in this
respect is not wide between the two sexes in most other countries, except in
Yemen where it is represented by 29 for female’s and72 for males.
It is interesting to note that schoolenrolment for females appears higher in some
countries than that of males-e.g., Bahrain, seen in83 for females as opposed to
77 for males; Kuwait, as represented by 61 and 57 respectively; Lebanon, with
figures 81 and 76 respectively; and Jordan, with57 and 53 respectively. This
situation can be explained by the fact that a significant number of males from
these countries study abroad, hence their absencefrom the national registered
data. Females do not always enjoy this privilege, again for cultural reasons.
The following table gives another dimension of gender inequality in education,
as seen from another given perspective----namely, adult literacy and net
enrolment in the primary and secondary levels, as well as gross tertiary
enrolment, given separately.
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ARAB Perspective vs. WESTERN Perspective:-
ARAB ƒ
Family – Center of everything. (Father has first and last word.) ƒ
Friends – Periphery, but courteous to all. Honour – Very Important amongst
Arabs. Honour will be protected and defended at all costs. Shame (especially
against family) – avoided at all costs, insults and criticism taken very seriously.
ƒ
Time – less rigid Approach to time is much more relaxed and slower than that
in Western cultures.
Religion – Central to all things Society – Family / tribe is most important ƒ
Government – Most governments are secular, but still emphasize religion. ƒ
Age and Wisdom honoured. ƒ Wealth honoured in both cultures.
WESTERN ƒ
Family – Important but not as central to individual. ƒ
Friends – Core to some, important to most. ƒ
Honour – Typically not as importantƒ
Shame – Typically not as important Time- Very structured, deadlines must be
met. ƒ Religion – Varies by individual, very personal, not discussed in polite
conversation. ƒ
Society – Individual rights. ƒ Government – Purpose is to protect rights and
improve standard of living. ƒ Youth and Beauty praised. ƒ Wealth honoured in
both cultures.
THE IMPACT OF MUSLIM CULTURE ON GENDER:-
Culture is an inevitable element impacting both gender identity and
communication. The importance of this issue is escalated when communication
takes place between people with different cultural backgrounds and as a result,
different views of gender. The impact of inter-cultural behaviours can be very
effective on relationships, businesses, definitions of masculinity and femininity,
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and in general, communication. Through this research paper and the five
articles, I will consider the different aspects of Islamic cultural exposure on
communication abilities and identifying gender among different people. The
significant point about this topic is highlighting facts that are least observed in
the Muslim communities, and learning how to deal with people with other
cultures and religions especially Islam. All the articles relate to people with
Islamic culture background and their challenges and how they negotiate their
gender in the United States. The first article titled as
Gender Role Identity among Adolescent Muslim Girls Living in the U.S. is a
research on ninety-six Muslim female students living in US; three different
measurements has been performed and their levels of masculinity vs. femininity
attributes as well as the role of religion on their gender identity has been
reported. The second article titled Gender Identity and Religious Practices of
First-Generation Muslim Women Immigrants in the U.S.
Discusses gender and religious identities perceived by 33 Muslim women living
in U.S. and how they interpret their Islamic background facing the American
culture. The women in this study are surveyed based on the overload of
conflicting cultural norms that they are faced in their everyday life. The third
article named
Dynamics of Religion and Gender amongst Young British Muslims is and
interesting article, interviewing British Asian Muslim men and women. Using
snowball sampling, this article concentrates on how the men and women define
their masculinity/femininity from their Islamic perspective, and how they
implement that towards their gendered lives in the Islamic society of London.
The forth article is titled Muslim American Identities and Diversity which is a
research that examines the first generation as well as the second generation
Muslims in the united states and observes the impact of media as well as the
American culture on them. The fifth article titled Young American Muslim
Identities discusses the tensions that different groups of Muslims in the Unites
States have together and how they socialize together as well as to the American
society. The main purpose of this paper is to understand the issues that Muslims
in the Unites States are facing, and determine how this exposure to the
American culture gives rise to gender identity and communication problems.
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The GenerationGap in the Arab World:-
If anyone remembers the Generation Gap of the 1960’s in the United States, a
similar phenomenon is now sweeping the Middle East and Arab World.
Here is an example:
Traditionally in Middle Eastern culture, women do not “date.” A man who sees
a woman he likes in the street that he is attracted to is supposed to go and
propose marriage to her family before he is allowed to get to know her. (This is
one of the reasons why the incidence of cousin marriage remains relatively
high–people ARE aware of birth defects caused by it; however, men are often
afraid to take a chance on marrying a woman they don’t know at all. So they
settle for marrying their first cousin, whom they have been allowed to get to
know in a family setting.)
Now, almost all young girls are in school with boys and talking to boys, even if
they are in rural schools.
In the cities, many girls in schools are having boyfriends (which doesn’t mean
they are actually dating) as in classroom romances between children. Even if a
girl doesn’t have a boyfriend, all of them have boys they “like” in the class.
Boys also have the girls they “like.” All this starts in early elementary school.
By the time kids get into junior high and high school, kids in the richer high
schools are actually dating. In many cases, the mothers know their daughters
have boyfriends, but they keep it a secret from the fathers (who tend to “go
ballistic”). I n a few cases, the fathers know and don’t care, but this is very rare.
So, even girls in elementary school are having boyfriends even if they are not
dating at that age. Due to modern television programs from the West, many
middle-school girls now ask their parents when they can start “dating.” The
most common answer which girls I know have recently been getting from their
parents is, “When you finish the university, and are ready to get married, then it
would be OK to go out on a few dates, such as to a restaurant or a movie.”
This seems like a quite liberal idea to the parents and especially fathers who are
answering in this way, as it is so much further advanced over what their
generation was allowed to do (men currently in their 40’s). Yet, to the children
and teenagers, this idea seems so far behind the times as to be laughable.
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So is the Generation Gap a real phenomenon? Yes, I think it is. It happened in
America in a time of great social change; it is happening in the Middle East in a
time a great social change. In the West, the changes were driven by the pill; and
by sex, drugs and rock-and-roll.
In the Middle East, the change is driven by education, particularly of girls.
This is the first generation where girls are being educated even in rural and
mountain areas. Before, girls were kept in the house except to go to the market
and public bath. Now girls are out going to and from schoolevery day,
unsupervised and unaccompanied by their parents and family members while in
school, and free to talk with boys at school. They have opportunities for
freedom never before available to Middle Eastern girls. So yes, the Generation
Gap does exist.
Sex education is mostly absent in Middle Eastern societies (after all, no need is
seen for it since girls are not supposed to be doing anything at all before they
are married). The result of this is that more out-of-wedlock pregnancies are
happening. Even paediatricians are being pro-active in bringing up the subject
of birth control pills with high school girls and their mothers. In my view, it
takes at least a full generation for the Generation Gap to close a bit. Teenagers
will always want to be different from their parents; no matter how “hip” their
parents were in their own time. But this type of difference is far less than the
amount of difference in generation Gap. I predict that today’s Generation
Gap in the Middle East will last another 30 years.
Evolution of work values:-
The Tribal Stage:
(Before 622 C.E.)
The early Arabs had a low appreciation for the work of craftsmen and artisans
(Issawi, 1950), and a higher appreciation for trade and commerce. Their tribal
life and work within the primitive Bedouin environment emphasized the
significance of endurance and communal cohesion. Under such conditions,
group coordination and perseverance were necessary conditions for survival.
The society valued the concepts of brotherhood, cooperation, and loyalty but
within the same tribal unit only (Baali & Wardi, 1981). In relation to others, the
values that dominated were those of rivalry and revenge, show and
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rapaciousness, in addition to hospitality and generousness (Almaney, 1981; Ali,
1986-87).
(2) The Islamic (Prophetic) Stage:
(622-661 C.E.)
The year 622 C.E. marked the creation of the first Muslim community in
Medina -in today's Saudi Arabia-under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad
(Denny, 1987). This represented the establishment of a new Community where
many of the concepts, values, and conditions of the Arabs were radically
transformed. While still emphasizing the importance of endurance and
communal cohesion, it was made clear that these values should be applied
among all believers in the society, and not only within the individual tribal
structures. In addition, the attitude toward certain professions -like manual
labour- was drastically changed. Prophet Muhammad preached to his new
followers that "the one who betrays (in his work) is not one of us," thus trying to
encourage the transformed Arabs into applying their religious teachings into
their daily life. The hand of the worker became "a hand loved by God and His
messenger "and "whoever goes to bed exhausted because of hard work, he has
thereby caused his sins to be absolved" (Prophet Muhammad in Abdul-Rauf,
1984: p. 10).The emphasis put on the spiritual aspects (e.g. forgiveness of sins,
love of God...etc.) did not mean a denial of this world in one's work. The
traditions of the early Muslims advocated such a balanced approach between
this life and the life to come: "Work for this world as if your life in it is eternal;
work for the other life as if you were to die tomorrow" (Haykal, 1976). The
'Islamic-Prophetic' stage ends roughly in the year 661 C.E. which witnessed the
end of the reign of the four leaders who succeeded Prophet Muhammad after he
died in 632.
(3) The Post-Prophetic Stage
: (661-1850s C.E.)This era is characterized by a series of dynasties and empires.
The positive and action-oriented approach to work dominated through most of
that period. Hajazi (1979) describes the prevalent value systems at the
'medieval' times as being "dynamic, flexible, assertive, and tolerant" (Ali, 1986-
87: p. 95). During that era, workers' associations were organized and existed till
the beginning of the nineteenth century (El-Banna, 1983). These associations,
known as 'brotherhoods' or 'fraternities', regulated the various crafts and
established rules of practice. This outlook, which was an application and an
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extension of the work philosophy in the Prophetic stage, culminated in the great
accomplishments of the Arab-Islamic civilization during the Abbasid dynasty
(750-1258 C.E.). During that era, "art and architecture flourished, as did crafts,
trade, military tactics, and strategy." (Denny, 1987: p. 35-36).This stage ends
roughly in the middle of the nineteenth century when the European interest in
the Arab countries intensified and the Muslim empire started to disintegrate.
(4) The Current Stage
: (1850s-current)This stage is characterized by dynamic political and economic
changes in the Arab world which are manifested in the creation of about twenty
one states, and the discovery of oil which had major impacts on the Arab
society.Hofstede (1984), based on an empirical cross-cultural research study on
work values in forty countries, categorizes the Arab countries among those
which have low individualism (i.e. a tightly integrated society), large power
distance (i.e. inequalities in power are tolerated), strong uncertainty avoidance
(i.e. a desire for clear and structured work environment), and high masculinity
(i.e. distinct social roles are expected for men and women). The following
sections describe the existing work values in the Arab culture.
CURRENT WORK VALUES:-
Abbas has made a strong effort to develop a line of research pertaining to work
values in the Arab culture (e.g.Abbas, 1989). His studies included samples from
Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, and UAE among others.
The studies seem to strengthen the suggestion that Arab managers prefer the
consultative style of decision-making and are not comfortable with delegation
(Weir, 2000). Saudi and Iraqi managers seem to avoid responsibility and risks
taking, are highly concerned about job stability, and are reluctant to delegate
authority (Abbas, 1989). Salem (2000) highlighted the paradoxical
characteristics of Egyptian managers, which makes it hard to categorize the
managerial style of a typical Egyptian manager. In an empirical study on the
work values of Arab executives, Ali (1986-87) indicates that the sociocentric
value (high need for affiliation with little concern for wealth) is the most
dominant system in the Arab society. The society is also characterized by being
predominantly outer-directed with some inclination toward inner-directness.
The outer-directed person "likes structure, and accepts rules, policies and group
norms...[and] prefers a stable environment and job and tends not to set goals,
but rather lives according to someone else's plan" (Ali, 1986-87: p.96). The
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inner-directed person, on the other hand, sets goals and tries to influence his
surroundings.
Women and Work in the Arab Culture:-
:Hofstede (1984) categorizes the Arab countries among those countries which
are high on the masculinity index. This brings up the issue of the work of
women which has been the centre of heated debate for the last one hundred
years in the Arab world. The efforts of progressive thinkers and feminist
movements, as well as political and social changes in the past century improved
–relatively- the situation of women. Women's education and right to work in
traditional jobs such as medicine, teaching, and nursing has become undisputed
in most of the Arab world and is allowed in religious circles. Arab human
development reports point out that there have been important advancements
relating to women’s development in the Arab world (Arab Human Development
Report, 2002).Progress in Arab female education was the highest relative to any
other region with female literacy increasing three-fold in the past thirty years.
Despite such enormous efforts, female adult literacy in the Arab countries in
2000 was 50% and female literacy rate as a percentage of male rates was 68%
(Human Development Report, 2002).
It should be noted that educational progress has varied from one Arab country
to the other. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, in the year 2000, female
literacy rate as a percentage of male rates reached 106% in the year 2000 while
in Yemen it was only 37%.Such progress was paralleled by similar
advancements at the social level. Metle (2002) indicated, for example, that
Kuwaiti women are negatively influenced by the prevailing traditions. Abdalla
(1996) noted how Arabian Gulf women are stranded in restrictive long-
established functions. Mostafa (2003) came across noteworthy disparities
between males' and females' perceptions pertaining to roles in the Egyptian
society. Women in the Arab world, with varying degrees among different
countries, still experience severe limitations on their ability to get involved in
economic and social matters and access to work opportunities. Noting that the
conditions of women differ from one Arab country to the other, we expect the
following: P5: In Arab countries that emphasize sex-segregation in the work-
place, this segregation is likely to remain in the foreseeable future.P6: In the
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poorer countries the work of women is likely to persist mostly because of the
economic need (e.g. Egypt and Lebanon).
The New Outlook to Work Values
: Haddad (1984) notes how the contemporary Islamic literature looks on the
individual as a responsible dynamic agent of God who dwells in this earth "for
the purpose of managing, building, and caring for it" (p. 156). An individual
helps in shaping destiny within the laws God has set for the universe. From this
outlook we see a departure from the concepts of total dependence on and
submissiveness to predestination where man has no say in the affairs of his life.
Qutb (1983), under a chapter entitled 'positiveness', explains that it is a duty of
the 'believer' to view the universe from a positive active perspective. He asserts
that there is a balance between the will of God and actions of man. Belief in
God's omnipotence does not mean that man has no choice as this contradicts
what God says in the Qur’an (Holy book of Islam) about the duty of man being
an agent of God on earth. In addition, Ali (1987) indicates that “work in Islam is
considered a virtue in light of man's needs...Islam stands, therefore, not for life-
denial but for life-fulfilment" (p. 576). Based on the above research we propose:
P7: Workers who adopt the re-interpreted religious attitude (which emphasizes
the external and internal louses of control) toward work will be more productive
than those who adhere to the concept of predestination (an external locus of
control).
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Conclusion:-
This paper has tried to shed light on gender inequalities in the Arab countries, a
situation which has been the subject of much criticism not only by the non-Arab
world, but also among Arabs who have a good understanding of their religion,
and are aware of the legal rights of women in those societies that guarantee the
equality of all citizens.
Such criticism may be due to the fact that the Arab countries are currently
caught in the midst of more than one current, which contradict gender
inequality. On the one hand, there is the growing global trend calling for the
equality of women in all spheres of life, in this case equating these rights with
the concerns of development Moreover, the increasing call for observing human
rights necessarily includes women's rights as an integral part. Arab countries
have been participating in the international forums with this agenda, as has
already been mentioned. On the other hand, the official religion in these
countries is Islam, a religion whose teachings clearly guarantees women their
rights. Moreover, many of these countries have legal systems which stipulate
the equality of all citizens irrespective of race, religion, or gender. The actual
situation, however, reveals gender inequality in more than one sphere, as
apparent in opportunities, numbers, and status. Education, employment,
political participation are examples of the discrepancy between males and
females. The male -dominated traditional backboneprevails over the culture.
The strength of this cultural heritage permeates all aspects ofsociety in such a
way that to the layman, there is that confusion between what is dictated by
religion and what is required by tradition. To the non -Moslem, all aspects of
inequality are blamed on Islam, which is believed to be the basis of the
legislative system that may include aspects of gender inequality in some cases,
as above presented.
The degree of inequality among women varies from one Arab country to
another, at the same time that the kind of inequality may likewise reflect
variation. If women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden to drive, women in Egypt are
banned from the position of judge. Kuwaiti women are deprived of their right to
political participation, much as this issue has been subjected to debate. In this
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respect, it is seen that Tunisia has gone a long way beyond Arab countries,
addressing, with much courage, aspects of discrimination against women.
Suffices to say here that it has succeeded in promulgating a Personal Status
Codewhich prohibits polygamy. In general, it is seen that Tunisia has gone in
strides in the rights granted to women, the liberal trend initiated by the feminist
movement having succeeded where other countries have failed. The result is felt
on more than one level. In the first place, women constitute nearly one quarter
of the labour force. On the level of the legislative power and advisory bodies,
the proportions of female representation are;11.5% in the Chamber of Deputies;
16.7 on the municipal councils; 11% on the economic and Social Council;
13.3% on the Higher Council of the Magistracy; and 12% among ministry
department staff. (Human Rights in Tunisia: Options and Accomplishments:
2000)
The variation in the attitude of the Arab countries towards women's rights
appears in the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).Eight Arab countries did not ratify
the convention. Most Gulf States fall in this category. They are Bahrain, United
Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Out of the twenty two (22)
Arab states, the eight countries represent one third of all countries that have not
ratified CEDAW.(Arab Human Development Report2002)
It follows that gender inequality in the Arab countries, as it is in other Islamic
states, tends to taint those societies with a negative image. To the West, in
particular, women in these societies live under conditions of
repression/oppression. They are marginalized, secluded, and kept from any form
of participation in public life. The situation is not that dim. Neither is it grim.
Women are active members in society. In the family they have an important role
in decision-making. Where they are employed, they receive equal pay. There is
no gender discrimination as to wages.
The fact remains that there is an ongoing struggle for women's rights in the
Arab world-one that is strongly held back by the dictates of tradition. How far
can the impact of the global currents affect the result of this struggle, leading it
to a more liberal direction, remains to be seen, probably not in the near future,
but on a longer term, considering the known resistance of traditionalism to
change.
More so, how far can the strong hold of the culture maintain its influence in the
face of the global trend is subject to much speculation, especially with the
19
rigidity of the ever-increasing reactionary tide. In the midst of these conflicting
trends in the region, the question is raised as to where would the situation of
gender equality be, among other concerns of development.
20
Bibliography:-
 http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID
=ebw
 https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-
jspui/bitstream/2134/13814/3/Impact%20of%20culture-final3.pdf
 https://fas.org/irp/agency/army/arabculture.pdf
 http://www.juragentium.org/topics/islam/mw/en/elsafty.htm
 http://www.academia.edu/7595415/THE_IMPACT_OF_MUSLIM_CUL
TURE_ON_GENDER
 http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/Why_do_Arab_States_La
g3.pdf
 https://interculturalmeanderings.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/the-
generation-gap-in-the-arab-world/
 http://www.academia.edu/255959/Work_Values_in_the_Arab_Culture

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Impact of gender and generational differences in Arab culture report

  • 1. 1 Project report on Impact of Gender and Generational Differences in Work Values and Attitudes in an Arab Culture Submitted by Ambrish Ratna (1226114103) Mohammed Naseer Khan (1226114117) Malllela Udaya Naga Kartheek(1226114122) Saka Sandesh(1226114132) Ashish Pradhan (1226214101)
  • 2. 2 Executive summary Saudi Arabia has seen a rapid expansion of information systems. However, the culture in Saudi Arabia has the effect of making the security of this information very vulnerable which, in turn, can have an effect on the success ofSaudi organisations. This paper has shown that Saudi Arabian culture adds an additional layer of complexity to the security of any information system. A number of problems specific to Saudi Arabian culture have been identified. The question now arises as to what should be done about these problems. This is the subject of ongoing research. Other problems in Saudi Arabian information system security may prove more difficult to solve. However, IT itself is already helping to overcome some problems such as the use of email to enable male-female communication. It is possible that IT may provide yet more possible ways to overcome the security problems of Saudi Arabia, but this is for future investigation. Information systems security should be a concern of every company and organisation. However, this paper has highlighted additional problems created by the culture in Saudi Arabia. It is believed that any organisation working in Saudi Arabia should note the potential risks to IT security reported in this paper and should address the problems with care and sensitivity to take the culture into account. This paper has made some suggestions on ways forward for investigation to resolve the problems identified
  • 3. 3 Introduction:- The Arab conquests:7th century:- One of the most dramatic and sudden movements of any people in history is the expansion, by conquest, of the Arabs in the 7th century (only the example of the Mongols in the 13th century can match it). The desert tribesmen of Arabia form the bulk of the Muslim armies. Their natural ferocity and love of warfare, together with the sense of moral rectitude provided by their new religion, form an irresistible combination. When Muhammad dies in 632, the western half of Arabia is Muslim. Two years later the entire peninsula has been brought to the faith, and Muslim armies have moved up into the desert between Syria and Mesopotamia. The great Christian cities of Syria and Palestine fall to the Arabs in rapid successionfrom635. Damascus, in that year, is the first to be captured. Antioch follows in 636. And 638 bring the greatest prize of all, in Muslim terms, when Jerusalem is taken after a year's siege. It is a moment of profound significance for the young religion, for Islam sees itself as the successorofJudaism and Christianity. The city of the people of Moses, in which Jesus also preaches and dies, is a holy place for Muslims too. Moses and Jesus are Muhammad's predecessors as prophets. A Muhammad himself will also soonemerge in Jerusalem. Muslim Persia:637-751 Persia falls to the Arabs as a consequenceof the battle of Kadisiya, close to the Euphrates, in 637. After their victory the Arabs sack the city of Ctesiphon (carefully sharing out the famous spring). The last Sassanian emperor, Yazdegerd III, is five at the time. He and his court escape to the east, but he is eventually assassinated, in 651, at Merv. His name remains, even today, in use in the chronology of the Parsees. They number their years from the start of his reign in 632. Meanwhile the Arabs win another victory over Persian forces at Nahavand in 641. They capture Isfahan in 642 and Herat in 643. Persia becomes, for a century, part of the Umayyad. The final push eastwards for Islam, in the central Asian plateau, is in more difficult terrain and is more protracted. Throughout the second half of the 7th century there is fighting in and around the Hindu Kush,
  • 4. 4 but by the early years of the 8th century the Arabs control the full swathe of territory from the Arabian Sea in the south (they enter Sind and move into India as far north as Multan by 712), up through Kandahar and Balkh (either side of the Hindu Kush) to Bukhara and Samarkand in the north, beyond the Amu Darya. At this northern extreme they are neighbours of the T'ang Chinese. The eventual clash between these two powers, an encounter won by the Arabs, comes in 751 at the Talas River. Muslim North Africa: from642 The Arab conquestof Egypt and North Africa begins with the arrival of an army in640 in front of the Byzantine fortified town of Babylon (in the area which is now Old Cairo). The Arabs capture it after a siege and establish their own garrison town just to the east, calling it Al Fustat. The army then moves on to Alexandria, but here the defences are sufficient to keep them at bay for fourteen months. At the end of that time a surprising treaty is signed. The Greeks of Alexandria agree to leave peacefully; the Arabs give them a year in which to do so. In the autumn of 642, the handover duly occurs. One of the richest of Byzantine provinces has been lost to the Arabs without a fight. The Arabs continue rapidly westwards along the coastof North Africa, capturing Cyrenaica in 642 and Tripoli in 643. But these remain largely ineffective outposts.Fornearly three decades the Arabs make little progress in subduing the indigenous Berber inhabitants of this coastal strip. The turning point comes in 670 with the founding of a new Arab garrison town at Kairouan, about sixty miles south of the Byzantine city of Carthage. From this secure base military controlbecomes possible. Carthage is destroyed (yet again) in 698. By the early 8th century northwest Africa is firmly in Arab hands. In 711 an Arab general takes the next expansionist step. With a Berber army he crosses the straits of Gibraltar and enters Spain. Arabs in Spain and France:711-732 The short journey across the water from Africa, bringing an army into Spain in 711, begins the final thrust of Arab expansionism in the west. In a frequently repeated pattern of history the invaders, invited to assist one side in a quarrel, rapidly take control and suppress bothsquabbling parties. Within a few months
  • 5. 5 the Arabs drive the Visigoths from their capital at Toledo. Soongovernors appointed by the caliph in Damascus are ruling much of Spain. The Arabs press on northwards. Their armies move into Gaul, and here at last they are halted - near Poitiers in 732. The Arabs and Constantinople:674-717 in the overwhelming assault on the Byzantine Empire by the Arabs during the 7th century, only one campaign is consistently unsuccessful. This is their frequently repeated attempt to capture Constantinople itself. The city is first unsuccessfully attacked, by sea and land, in669. The last of several expeditions ends in disaster for the Arabs in 717, when a fleet of some 2000 ships is destroyed by a storm and the army straggles homewards through a wintry Anatolia. From the mid-670s the Byzantines have one strong psychological advantage - a mysterious new device in their armoury which becomes known as Greek fire. Greek fire: 674 In674 a Muslim fleet enters the Bosphorus to attack Constantinople. It is greeted, and greatly deterred, by a new weapon which can be seen as the precursorof the modern flamethrower. It has never been discovered precisely how the Byzantine chemists achieve the jet of flame for their 'Greek fire'. The secret of such a lethal advantage is jealously guarded. Contemporary accounts imply that the inflammable substanceis petroleum- based, floats on water, and is almost impossible to extinguish. It can be lobbed in a canister. But in its most devastating form it is projected, as a stream of liquid fire, from a tube mounted in the prow of a ship. Sprayed among a wooden fleet, its destructive potential is obvious. Arabs and Muslims: 8th century:- during the explosive first century of Arab expansion, the relationship subtly changes between two concepts - Arab and Muslim. At first they are inseparable. The Muslim armies are made up entirely of Arab tribesmen, and it is taken for granted that only Arabs can be Muslims. Between campaigns the Arab armies stay together in winter camps or garrison towns. They are an occupying force,
  • 6. 6 having little link with the inhabitants of the conquered territories. But by the early 8th century, when the Muslim expansion has reached something approaching its peak, there are not enough Arabs to provide the troops. Out of necessity, people of other groups begin to be received into Islam, fighting alongside the Arabs. Berbers do so in the west and Persians in the east. Inevitably there are resentments. Non-Arabs often feel they are treated as second-class Muslims, particularly when it comes to sharing out loot after a campaign. And the conversion of outsiders to Islam brings a financial burden. Non-Muslims are charged a poll tax, which is not paid by believers. The spread of the faith is a drain on the treasury. These various tensions, and the inevitable difficulty of controlling the vast new empire, result in a rebellion in 747 against the Umayyad caliph. Culture problems in Saudi Arab Gender communication in Arab:- In addition to gender hierarchy issues, according to the interpretation of the Islamic religion in Saudi Arabia, physical gender segregation in society and organisations is essential. This means that males and females who are not related should not have direct contact with each other. Women in Saudi Arabia
  • 7. 7 can work in male/female organisations but they must not interact with men. Most women work in all female settings where they do not have to interact with men. Women tend to work in girls’ schools, women’s sections of universities and banks catering for female clients, social work and development programmes for women, medicine and nursing for women, television and radio programming, and computer and library work .For organisations such segregation does have an impact on efficiency of service provisioning, if only through the duplication of services for differing genders. Although Princess Nora bin Abdul Rahman University (PNU) is an all-female university, some of the high level operational management is handled by men. As a result of the non-communication culture, even senior women employees usually struggle to communicate with men. Most of the communication is conducted either online, via email or verbal communication via land lines phones and mobiles. Because of Saudi culture, direct communication is effectively forbidden, not by the PNU management, but by the female’s spouses. Poor communication between female employees and male employees who control the information systems at PNU could easily jeopardize the security of the information held. Right to Education As a worldly religion, taking into consideration the practical aspects of life, Islam gives women the right to have an education. In fact, it emphasizes the value of education for both men and women. Arab countries supportthis right in their legislation. The last fifty years have witnessed a significantly rising rate of female literacy, as education expanded in the Arab region. According to the Arab Human Development Report2002, Arab women's literacy rates have expanded threefold since 1970. Moreover, female primary and secondary enrolment rates have more than doubled. This period is especially significant for the Gulf States, since it marks the beginning of the oil boom, which led them to launch programs of development in all spheres, particularly in the field of education. However, even with steps taken to expand educational opportunities for all, the actual situation of the educational status of the females in the Arab countries reveals a discrepancy with respect to gender. In the first place, the illiteracy rate is higher among females. In the second place, the numbers of males in all the stages exceed those of females in most countries. As an indication of the educational status in the Arab countries as above given, the following table presents the gender inequality in education, with respect to the
  • 8. 8 literacy rate, as well as the combined primary, secondary, and tertiary gross enrolment ratio in education. In the above table, male literacy is seen higher than female literacy. The gap appears smaller in those Gulf countries like Bahrain and Kuwait. In Qatar, it is interesting to note, that the literacy rate is higher among females than it is among males, as represented by 82.6 and 80.1 respectively----an exceptional situation difficult to explain. Gross enrolment in education does not reflect any variation between the sexes in Qatar and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, as represented by75 and 92 respectively for both sexes. In addition, the gap in this respect is not wide between the two sexes in most other countries, except in Yemen where it is represented by 29 for female’s and72 for males. It is interesting to note that schoolenrolment for females appears higher in some countries than that of males-e.g., Bahrain, seen in83 for females as opposed to 77 for males; Kuwait, as represented by 61 and 57 respectively; Lebanon, with figures 81 and 76 respectively; and Jordan, with57 and 53 respectively. This situation can be explained by the fact that a significant number of males from these countries study abroad, hence their absencefrom the national registered data. Females do not always enjoy this privilege, again for cultural reasons. The following table gives another dimension of gender inequality in education, as seen from another given perspective----namely, adult literacy and net enrolment in the primary and secondary levels, as well as gross tertiary enrolment, given separately.
  • 9. 9 ARAB Perspective vs. WESTERN Perspective:- ARAB ƒ Family – Center of everything. (Father has first and last word.) ƒ Friends – Periphery, but courteous to all. Honour – Very Important amongst Arabs. Honour will be protected and defended at all costs. Shame (especially against family) – avoided at all costs, insults and criticism taken very seriously. ƒ Time – less rigid Approach to time is much more relaxed and slower than that in Western cultures. Religion – Central to all things Society – Family / tribe is most important ƒ Government – Most governments are secular, but still emphasize religion. ƒ Age and Wisdom honoured. ƒ Wealth honoured in both cultures. WESTERN ƒ Family – Important but not as central to individual. ƒ Friends – Core to some, important to most. ƒ Honour – Typically not as importantƒ Shame – Typically not as important Time- Very structured, deadlines must be met. ƒ Religion – Varies by individual, very personal, not discussed in polite conversation. ƒ Society – Individual rights. ƒ Government – Purpose is to protect rights and improve standard of living. ƒ Youth and Beauty praised. ƒ Wealth honoured in both cultures. THE IMPACT OF MUSLIM CULTURE ON GENDER:- Culture is an inevitable element impacting both gender identity and communication. The importance of this issue is escalated when communication takes place between people with different cultural backgrounds and as a result, different views of gender. The impact of inter-cultural behaviours can be very effective on relationships, businesses, definitions of masculinity and femininity,
  • 10. 10 and in general, communication. Through this research paper and the five articles, I will consider the different aspects of Islamic cultural exposure on communication abilities and identifying gender among different people. The significant point about this topic is highlighting facts that are least observed in the Muslim communities, and learning how to deal with people with other cultures and religions especially Islam. All the articles relate to people with Islamic culture background and their challenges and how they negotiate their gender in the United States. The first article titled as Gender Role Identity among Adolescent Muslim Girls Living in the U.S. is a research on ninety-six Muslim female students living in US; three different measurements has been performed and their levels of masculinity vs. femininity attributes as well as the role of religion on their gender identity has been reported. The second article titled Gender Identity and Religious Practices of First-Generation Muslim Women Immigrants in the U.S. Discusses gender and religious identities perceived by 33 Muslim women living in U.S. and how they interpret their Islamic background facing the American culture. The women in this study are surveyed based on the overload of conflicting cultural norms that they are faced in their everyday life. The third article named Dynamics of Religion and Gender amongst Young British Muslims is and interesting article, interviewing British Asian Muslim men and women. Using snowball sampling, this article concentrates on how the men and women define their masculinity/femininity from their Islamic perspective, and how they implement that towards their gendered lives in the Islamic society of London. The forth article is titled Muslim American Identities and Diversity which is a research that examines the first generation as well as the second generation Muslims in the united states and observes the impact of media as well as the American culture on them. The fifth article titled Young American Muslim Identities discusses the tensions that different groups of Muslims in the Unites States have together and how they socialize together as well as to the American society. The main purpose of this paper is to understand the issues that Muslims in the Unites States are facing, and determine how this exposure to the American culture gives rise to gender identity and communication problems.
  • 11. 11 The GenerationGap in the Arab World:- If anyone remembers the Generation Gap of the 1960’s in the United States, a similar phenomenon is now sweeping the Middle East and Arab World. Here is an example: Traditionally in Middle Eastern culture, women do not “date.” A man who sees a woman he likes in the street that he is attracted to is supposed to go and propose marriage to her family before he is allowed to get to know her. (This is one of the reasons why the incidence of cousin marriage remains relatively high–people ARE aware of birth defects caused by it; however, men are often afraid to take a chance on marrying a woman they don’t know at all. So they settle for marrying their first cousin, whom they have been allowed to get to know in a family setting.) Now, almost all young girls are in school with boys and talking to boys, even if they are in rural schools. In the cities, many girls in schools are having boyfriends (which doesn’t mean they are actually dating) as in classroom romances between children. Even if a girl doesn’t have a boyfriend, all of them have boys they “like” in the class. Boys also have the girls they “like.” All this starts in early elementary school. By the time kids get into junior high and high school, kids in the richer high schools are actually dating. In many cases, the mothers know their daughters have boyfriends, but they keep it a secret from the fathers (who tend to “go ballistic”). I n a few cases, the fathers know and don’t care, but this is very rare. So, even girls in elementary school are having boyfriends even if they are not dating at that age. Due to modern television programs from the West, many middle-school girls now ask their parents when they can start “dating.” The most common answer which girls I know have recently been getting from their parents is, “When you finish the university, and are ready to get married, then it would be OK to go out on a few dates, such as to a restaurant or a movie.” This seems like a quite liberal idea to the parents and especially fathers who are answering in this way, as it is so much further advanced over what their generation was allowed to do (men currently in their 40’s). Yet, to the children and teenagers, this idea seems so far behind the times as to be laughable.
  • 12. 12 So is the Generation Gap a real phenomenon? Yes, I think it is. It happened in America in a time of great social change; it is happening in the Middle East in a time a great social change. In the West, the changes were driven by the pill; and by sex, drugs and rock-and-roll. In the Middle East, the change is driven by education, particularly of girls. This is the first generation where girls are being educated even in rural and mountain areas. Before, girls were kept in the house except to go to the market and public bath. Now girls are out going to and from schoolevery day, unsupervised and unaccompanied by their parents and family members while in school, and free to talk with boys at school. They have opportunities for freedom never before available to Middle Eastern girls. So yes, the Generation Gap does exist. Sex education is mostly absent in Middle Eastern societies (after all, no need is seen for it since girls are not supposed to be doing anything at all before they are married). The result of this is that more out-of-wedlock pregnancies are happening. Even paediatricians are being pro-active in bringing up the subject of birth control pills with high school girls and their mothers. In my view, it takes at least a full generation for the Generation Gap to close a bit. Teenagers will always want to be different from their parents; no matter how “hip” their parents were in their own time. But this type of difference is far less than the amount of difference in generation Gap. I predict that today’s Generation Gap in the Middle East will last another 30 years. Evolution of work values:- The Tribal Stage: (Before 622 C.E.) The early Arabs had a low appreciation for the work of craftsmen and artisans (Issawi, 1950), and a higher appreciation for trade and commerce. Their tribal life and work within the primitive Bedouin environment emphasized the significance of endurance and communal cohesion. Under such conditions, group coordination and perseverance were necessary conditions for survival. The society valued the concepts of brotherhood, cooperation, and loyalty but within the same tribal unit only (Baali & Wardi, 1981). In relation to others, the values that dominated were those of rivalry and revenge, show and
  • 13. 13 rapaciousness, in addition to hospitality and generousness (Almaney, 1981; Ali, 1986-87). (2) The Islamic (Prophetic) Stage: (622-661 C.E.) The year 622 C.E. marked the creation of the first Muslim community in Medina -in today's Saudi Arabia-under the leadership of Prophet Muhammad (Denny, 1987). This represented the establishment of a new Community where many of the concepts, values, and conditions of the Arabs were radically transformed. While still emphasizing the importance of endurance and communal cohesion, it was made clear that these values should be applied among all believers in the society, and not only within the individual tribal structures. In addition, the attitude toward certain professions -like manual labour- was drastically changed. Prophet Muhammad preached to his new followers that "the one who betrays (in his work) is not one of us," thus trying to encourage the transformed Arabs into applying their religious teachings into their daily life. The hand of the worker became "a hand loved by God and His messenger "and "whoever goes to bed exhausted because of hard work, he has thereby caused his sins to be absolved" (Prophet Muhammad in Abdul-Rauf, 1984: p. 10).The emphasis put on the spiritual aspects (e.g. forgiveness of sins, love of God...etc.) did not mean a denial of this world in one's work. The traditions of the early Muslims advocated such a balanced approach between this life and the life to come: "Work for this world as if your life in it is eternal; work for the other life as if you were to die tomorrow" (Haykal, 1976). The 'Islamic-Prophetic' stage ends roughly in the year 661 C.E. which witnessed the end of the reign of the four leaders who succeeded Prophet Muhammad after he died in 632. (3) The Post-Prophetic Stage : (661-1850s C.E.)This era is characterized by a series of dynasties and empires. The positive and action-oriented approach to work dominated through most of that period. Hajazi (1979) describes the prevalent value systems at the 'medieval' times as being "dynamic, flexible, assertive, and tolerant" (Ali, 1986- 87: p. 95). During that era, workers' associations were organized and existed till the beginning of the nineteenth century (El-Banna, 1983). These associations, known as 'brotherhoods' or 'fraternities', regulated the various crafts and established rules of practice. This outlook, which was an application and an
  • 14. 14 extension of the work philosophy in the Prophetic stage, culminated in the great accomplishments of the Arab-Islamic civilization during the Abbasid dynasty (750-1258 C.E.). During that era, "art and architecture flourished, as did crafts, trade, military tactics, and strategy." (Denny, 1987: p. 35-36).This stage ends roughly in the middle of the nineteenth century when the European interest in the Arab countries intensified and the Muslim empire started to disintegrate. (4) The Current Stage : (1850s-current)This stage is characterized by dynamic political and economic changes in the Arab world which are manifested in the creation of about twenty one states, and the discovery of oil which had major impacts on the Arab society.Hofstede (1984), based on an empirical cross-cultural research study on work values in forty countries, categorizes the Arab countries among those which have low individualism (i.e. a tightly integrated society), large power distance (i.e. inequalities in power are tolerated), strong uncertainty avoidance (i.e. a desire for clear and structured work environment), and high masculinity (i.e. distinct social roles are expected for men and women). The following sections describe the existing work values in the Arab culture. CURRENT WORK VALUES:- Abbas has made a strong effort to develop a line of research pertaining to work values in the Arab culture (e.g.Abbas, 1989). His studies included samples from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Bahrain, and UAE among others. The studies seem to strengthen the suggestion that Arab managers prefer the consultative style of decision-making and are not comfortable with delegation (Weir, 2000). Saudi and Iraqi managers seem to avoid responsibility and risks taking, are highly concerned about job stability, and are reluctant to delegate authority (Abbas, 1989). Salem (2000) highlighted the paradoxical characteristics of Egyptian managers, which makes it hard to categorize the managerial style of a typical Egyptian manager. In an empirical study on the work values of Arab executives, Ali (1986-87) indicates that the sociocentric value (high need for affiliation with little concern for wealth) is the most dominant system in the Arab society. The society is also characterized by being predominantly outer-directed with some inclination toward inner-directness. The outer-directed person "likes structure, and accepts rules, policies and group norms...[and] prefers a stable environment and job and tends not to set goals, but rather lives according to someone else's plan" (Ali, 1986-87: p.96). The
  • 15. 15 inner-directed person, on the other hand, sets goals and tries to influence his surroundings. Women and Work in the Arab Culture:- :Hofstede (1984) categorizes the Arab countries among those countries which are high on the masculinity index. This brings up the issue of the work of women which has been the centre of heated debate for the last one hundred years in the Arab world. The efforts of progressive thinkers and feminist movements, as well as political and social changes in the past century improved –relatively- the situation of women. Women's education and right to work in traditional jobs such as medicine, teaching, and nursing has become undisputed in most of the Arab world and is allowed in religious circles. Arab human development reports point out that there have been important advancements relating to women’s development in the Arab world (Arab Human Development Report, 2002).Progress in Arab female education was the highest relative to any other region with female literacy increasing three-fold in the past thirty years. Despite such enormous efforts, female adult literacy in the Arab countries in 2000 was 50% and female literacy rate as a percentage of male rates was 68% (Human Development Report, 2002). It should be noted that educational progress has varied from one Arab country to the other. In the United Arab Emirates, for example, in the year 2000, female literacy rate as a percentage of male rates reached 106% in the year 2000 while in Yemen it was only 37%.Such progress was paralleled by similar advancements at the social level. Metle (2002) indicated, for example, that Kuwaiti women are negatively influenced by the prevailing traditions. Abdalla (1996) noted how Arabian Gulf women are stranded in restrictive long- established functions. Mostafa (2003) came across noteworthy disparities between males' and females' perceptions pertaining to roles in the Egyptian society. Women in the Arab world, with varying degrees among different countries, still experience severe limitations on their ability to get involved in economic and social matters and access to work opportunities. Noting that the conditions of women differ from one Arab country to the other, we expect the following: P5: In Arab countries that emphasize sex-segregation in the work- place, this segregation is likely to remain in the foreseeable future.P6: In the
  • 16. 16 poorer countries the work of women is likely to persist mostly because of the economic need (e.g. Egypt and Lebanon). The New Outlook to Work Values : Haddad (1984) notes how the contemporary Islamic literature looks on the individual as a responsible dynamic agent of God who dwells in this earth "for the purpose of managing, building, and caring for it" (p. 156). An individual helps in shaping destiny within the laws God has set for the universe. From this outlook we see a departure from the concepts of total dependence on and submissiveness to predestination where man has no say in the affairs of his life. Qutb (1983), under a chapter entitled 'positiveness', explains that it is a duty of the 'believer' to view the universe from a positive active perspective. He asserts that there is a balance between the will of God and actions of man. Belief in God's omnipotence does not mean that man has no choice as this contradicts what God says in the Qur’an (Holy book of Islam) about the duty of man being an agent of God on earth. In addition, Ali (1987) indicates that “work in Islam is considered a virtue in light of man's needs...Islam stands, therefore, not for life- denial but for life-fulfilment" (p. 576). Based on the above research we propose: P7: Workers who adopt the re-interpreted religious attitude (which emphasizes the external and internal louses of control) toward work will be more productive than those who adhere to the concept of predestination (an external locus of control).
  • 17. 17 Conclusion:- This paper has tried to shed light on gender inequalities in the Arab countries, a situation which has been the subject of much criticism not only by the non-Arab world, but also among Arabs who have a good understanding of their religion, and are aware of the legal rights of women in those societies that guarantee the equality of all citizens. Such criticism may be due to the fact that the Arab countries are currently caught in the midst of more than one current, which contradict gender inequality. On the one hand, there is the growing global trend calling for the equality of women in all spheres of life, in this case equating these rights with the concerns of development Moreover, the increasing call for observing human rights necessarily includes women's rights as an integral part. Arab countries have been participating in the international forums with this agenda, as has already been mentioned. On the other hand, the official religion in these countries is Islam, a religion whose teachings clearly guarantees women their rights. Moreover, many of these countries have legal systems which stipulate the equality of all citizens irrespective of race, religion, or gender. The actual situation, however, reveals gender inequality in more than one sphere, as apparent in opportunities, numbers, and status. Education, employment, political participation are examples of the discrepancy between males and females. The male -dominated traditional backboneprevails over the culture. The strength of this cultural heritage permeates all aspects ofsociety in such a way that to the layman, there is that confusion between what is dictated by religion and what is required by tradition. To the non -Moslem, all aspects of inequality are blamed on Islam, which is believed to be the basis of the legislative system that may include aspects of gender inequality in some cases, as above presented. The degree of inequality among women varies from one Arab country to another, at the same time that the kind of inequality may likewise reflect variation. If women in Saudi Arabia are forbidden to drive, women in Egypt are banned from the position of judge. Kuwaiti women are deprived of their right to political participation, much as this issue has been subjected to debate. In this
  • 18. 18 respect, it is seen that Tunisia has gone a long way beyond Arab countries, addressing, with much courage, aspects of discrimination against women. Suffices to say here that it has succeeded in promulgating a Personal Status Codewhich prohibits polygamy. In general, it is seen that Tunisia has gone in strides in the rights granted to women, the liberal trend initiated by the feminist movement having succeeded where other countries have failed. The result is felt on more than one level. In the first place, women constitute nearly one quarter of the labour force. On the level of the legislative power and advisory bodies, the proportions of female representation are;11.5% in the Chamber of Deputies; 16.7 on the municipal councils; 11% on the economic and Social Council; 13.3% on the Higher Council of the Magistracy; and 12% among ministry department staff. (Human Rights in Tunisia: Options and Accomplishments: 2000) The variation in the attitude of the Arab countries towards women's rights appears in the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).Eight Arab countries did not ratify the convention. Most Gulf States fall in this category. They are Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Oman. Out of the twenty two (22) Arab states, the eight countries represent one third of all countries that have not ratified CEDAW.(Arab Human Development Report2002) It follows that gender inequality in the Arab countries, as it is in other Islamic states, tends to taint those societies with a negative image. To the West, in particular, women in these societies live under conditions of repression/oppression. They are marginalized, secluded, and kept from any form of participation in public life. The situation is not that dim. Neither is it grim. Women are active members in society. In the family they have an important role in decision-making. Where they are employed, they receive equal pay. There is no gender discrimination as to wages. The fact remains that there is an ongoing struggle for women's rights in the Arab world-one that is strongly held back by the dictates of tradition. How far can the impact of the global currents affect the result of this struggle, leading it to a more liberal direction, remains to be seen, probably not in the near future, but on a longer term, considering the known resistance of traditionalism to change. More so, how far can the strong hold of the culture maintain its influence in the face of the global trend is subject to much speculation, especially with the
  • 19. 19 rigidity of the ever-increasing reactionary tide. In the midst of these conflicting trends in the region, the question is raised as to where would the situation of gender equality be, among other concerns of development.
  • 20. 20 Bibliography:-  http://www.historyworld.net/wrldhis/PlainTextHistories.asp?ParagraphID =ebw  https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace- jspui/bitstream/2134/13814/3/Impact%20of%20culture-final3.pdf  https://fas.org/irp/agency/army/arabculture.pdf  http://www.juragentium.org/topics/islam/mw/en/elsafty.htm  http://www.academia.edu/7595415/THE_IMPACT_OF_MUSLIM_CUL TURE_ON_GENDER  http://www.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/Why_do_Arab_States_La g3.pdf  https://interculturalmeanderings.wordpress.com/2011/03/15/the- generation-gap-in-the-arab-world/  http://www.academia.edu/255959/Work_Values_in_the_Arab_Culture