RELIGION AND FEMALE EMPOWERMENT: EVIDENCE FROM PAKISTAN AND NORTHERN NIGERIA
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Religion and female empowerment: evidence from Pakistan and northern Nigeria

 

Development theory and practice identify religious conviction as a challenge to female empowerment. Drawing on a new dataset on girls from madrasas and secular schools in Pakistan and northern Nigeria, and on ethnographic fieldwork, this article problematises this assumption. The data show various levels of commitment to pursuing a professional career among Muslim girls with equally high levels of religious conviction. Further, stronger career commitment is correlated with socio-economic and cultural factors other than religion. Female empowerment might be more effectively supported by aid investments in female education, employment opportunities and media access than by campaigns aimed at reforming religious norms.

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