The Gender (Dis)comfort Gap: the Effects of Gender on Everyday Interactions in Pakistan

How (un)comfortable are inter-gender interactions in Muslim societies? A gender gap in economic and political integration persists in many parts of the Muslim world, yet interpersonal contact across gender lines as a driver of these gaps (as well as a potential remedy) has not been systematically studied. This project has three goals. We propose an RCT that will first establish descriptive statistics about the prevalence of one particularly restrictive gender norm: the norm against unrelated men and women speaking to each other. This norm is thought to prevent women from participating in public spaces and the labor force, yet we lack basic facts about its prevalence. Second, we will experimentally test two mechanisms that plausibly drive this norm (concerns about women's safety, and notions of "purity") directly against each other. Finally, we will then explore a second RCT to erode this norm. Focusing on the workplace arrangement of gender segregation, we will explore the possibility of randomizing contact via gender-integrated vs. segregated workplace teams to study impacts on gender-progressive attitudes and behaviors concerning women's economic integration, women's safety, and notions of purity.

RFP Cycle:
Summer 2021
  • Salma Mousa
  • Saad Gulzar
  • Pilot project