The Internet: Changing the Way We Think about Women's Rights? Open Access

Balakrishnan, Nandita N. (2014)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/jm214p36b?locale=en
Published

Abstract

The introduction of the Internet has revolutionized the way that people access information and communicate with one another, but has it revolutionized the way people formulate their political attitudes? Information and communication networks of all sorts are now just a click away for many people around the globe, and for many, the Internet is becoming the main source of information through both formal and informal sources. Therefore, there is a potential for public opinion about political issues to be affected by increased access to the Internet. In particular, I explore how information access via the Internet has affected public opinion on women's rights and gender empowerment because previous scholarship shows that public opinion on women's rights is an important factor in the implementation of women's rights policy in an area. The Internet is a relatively new phenomenon, so scholarship on the Internet's effect on women's rights and public opinion is limited. Drawing from data from the Pew Global Attitudes Projects dataset from Springs 2007, 2010, and 2012, I constructed models analyzing this relationship between Internet access and attitudes towards women's rights. My models include both ordinal logistical models as well as simulations, which extracted sub-samples from within the sampled population. In addition, I conducted a qualitative case study comparing the relationship between Internet penetration and gender norms and attitudes in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. My results suggest that access to the Internet leads to a positive shift in attitudes towards women's rights.

Table of Contents

Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………...pg. 1

Research Question …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………pg. 4

Formulation of Public Opinion……………………………………………………………………………………………...…pg. 5

Response Variable: Public Opinion on Women's Rights and Gender Empowerment

Predispositions: Gender, Age and Education ……………………………………………………………...pg. 8

Predispositions: Ethnicity and Race …………………………………………………………………………...pg. 10

Political Factors ………………………………………………………………………………………………...........pg. 11

Explanatory Variable: Information Access

Informal Information Sources: The Social Filters ……………………………………………….......pg. 13

Formal Information Sources: The Media Effects ………………………………………………….....pg. 15

The Internet as a Tool for Political Engagement ……………………………………….……….......pg. 17

Women's Rights and Gender Empowerment: What's the Difference? ………………………………....pg. 19

Theoretical Framework ……………………………………………………………………………………………..………….pg. 21

Statement of Hypotheses ……………………………………………………………………………………………...…..pg. 22

Data and Methodology…………………………………………………………………………………………………….…...pg. 24

Design of Quantitative Analysis ……………………………………………………………………………..…..pg. 25

Design of Qualitative Analysis ……………………………………………………………………………..…….pg. 30

Quantitative Analysis

Ordinal Logistical Regression Models……………………………………………………………….……..….pg. 31

Simulation Models…………………………………………………………………………………………...………….pg. 51

Qualitative Analysis

Women's Rights in the Middle Eastern Context………………………………………………………….pg. 61

The Internet and ICT in the Middle East: What Women Have Gained………………….…..pg. 66

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates: an Introduction……………………………..…...pg. 67

Saudi Arabia…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….....pg. 70

The United Arab Emirates……………………………………………………………………………………..…..pg. 77

Discussion of Qualitative Analysis……………………………………………………………………………...pg. 85

Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….pg. 86

Future Research……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………pg. 91

Appendices……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………pg. 94

Bibliography………………..……………………………………………………………………………………………..………..pg. 125

Data Citations……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….pg. 129

Figures and Tables

Table 1-1: Ordinal Logistical Regression Results for Internet Access on Support for Women's Rights and Support for Gender Empowerment in the Year 2007 (Models 1 and 2).............................................................................pg. 33

Table 1-2: Ordinal Logistical Regression Results for Internet Access on Support for Women's Rights and Support for Gender Empowerment in the Year 2010 (Models 3 and 4)……………………….........................................................pg. 41

Table 1-3: Ordinal Logistical Regression Results for Internet Access on Support for Women's Rights and Support for Gender Empowerment in the Year 2012 (Models 5 and 6)………………….............................................................pg. 47

Table 2-1: Simulation Model A (Men with No Internet vs. Women with No Internet)…....…pg. 53

Table 2-2: Simulation Model B (A Nonreligious Man)…………………………………………………………...pg. 54

Table 2-3: Simulation Model C (A Religious Man)…………………………………………………………….....pg. 55

Table 2-4: Simulation Model D (An Uneducated, Unemployed Man)…………………………….…....pg. 56

Table 2-5: Simulation Model E (A Man Living in a Poor, Autocratic Country)……………….....pg. 57

Table 2-6: Simulation Model F (A Religious, Uneducated, Unemployed Man Living in a Poor, Autocratic Country with a Minimum Level of Female Political Participation)......................................................................................................pg. 58

Figure 1-1: Internet Usage for Saudi Arabia and the UAE………………………………………….....…..pg. 80

Figure 1-2: Labor Force Participation Rate in Saudi Arabia and the UAE……………………..…….pg. 83

Table 3-1: Coefficient Interpretation Simulation for Support for Women's Rights…………......pg. 116

Table 3-2: Coefficient Interpretation Simulation for Support for Gender Empowerment…....pg. 117

Table 4-1: Ordinal Logistical Regression Results for Support for Veiling and Support for Women Working Outside the Home in the Year 2007………………………………………………..............................................................…………..pg. 119

Table 4-2: Ordinal Logistical Regression Results on Support for Women's Rights and Support for the Right to Veil for the Year 2010…………………………………………………………………...........................................…………………pg. 123

About this Honors Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
School
Department
Degree
Submission
Language
  • English
Research field
Keyword
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files