Research Activities

Research Projects 2023

Religion or Patriarchy: What Hinders the Female Labor Force Participation in Pakistan?


Female labor force participation (FLFP) rate is very low in Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian countries though it is considered crucial in poverty alleviation and women’s empowerment. These countries are characterized by Islam and the strong patriarchal social norm against women’s working outside the home. Despite the general public image that Islam restricts women’s behavior, the association between Islam and low FLFP rate shown by the macro-level data provides divergent conclusions. The micro-level empirical studies concerning the impact of religion in general and Islam in specific, on preventing FLFP are scarce despite the apparent close relationship between the religious and social norms. We empirically investigate whether religiosity, i.e., the strength of religious belief within Islam, has a negative impact on FLFP by conducting the light-touch randomized controlled trial (RCT) in Pakistan. Pakistan is one of the lowest FLFP rate countries, and has the second largest Muslim population in the world. We aim to obtain an important policy implication to enhance female labor force participation.


April 2023 - March 2026

Role Member
[ Organizer ] Makino, Momoe
[ Co-researcher ] Umer, Hamza(Hitotsubashi University Specially Appointed Assistant Professor)

*Affiliations are as of April 2023.

Expected Outcome
  • Paper Submission to Peer-Reviewed Journal