Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to clarify and re‐position the debate on the role of women in employment in the Arab Middle East by drawing on the findings of empirical research to critique the paradigm of “neo‐patriarchy” defined by Sharabi and used uncritically by others. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the literature on neo‐patriarchy is followed by some findings from an empirical study of 197 women in the Jordanian labour market, from a sample drawn on a population basis. Findings – The findings indicate generally positive attitudes towards the employment of women and to the involvement of husbands in employment decisions, and to a slight preference on the part of managers for women as employees. Research limitations/implications – These findings need to be supplemented by more intensive studies in work situations and by case‐studies of specific employment sites. Practical implications – The attitudes of women in Jordan are in general positive towards employment and policy is evolving accordingly. Originality/value – These findings point to the limitations of the “neo‐patriarchy” discourse and to the likelihood that the employment situations of women in Jordan do not need to be characterized by the discourse of under‐development and traditionalism.
critical perspectives on international business – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 2, 2008
Keywords: Women; Employment; Spouses; Jordan; Middle East
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