This work explores how Muslim women in Egypt and Yemen understand the hijab, or head scarf. Based on data (N = 100) from a self-administered questionnaire written in Arabic, differences about the meaning of hijab are examined from the perspective of women who wear or are expected to wear the head scarf. When asked what the hijab means, Egyptian women focus on religious reasons and Yemeni women emphasize a cultural (or modesty) understanding. When probed further about their understanding of hijab, Egyptian women split between religious and gendered explanations. Significant numbers of women in our Egyptian sample report the hijab to be a symbol of oppression. On the other hand, Yemeni women rarely offer a gendered understanding of the hijab; instead, they focus on religious, domestic, and psychological reasons for wearing the head scarf.
Jackson, Kenneth E. and Monk-Turner, Elizabeth
The Meaning of Hijab: Voices of Muslim Women in Egypt and Yemen.
Journal of International Women's Studies, 16(2), 30-48.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol16/iss2/3