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Enabling Women's Agency: Arab Women Speak Out
Unformatted Document Text:  Tracking #: ICA-19-11265 Table 4. Factors Associated with Above-average Level of Agency 95% Confidence Variable + Odds Ratio Interval Age 1.47 .905-2.41 Education .65 .384-1.11 Employed ± .64 .355-1.53 Married ± 1.17 .697-1.95 Nationality 1.25 .884-1.79 Access to information 2.16** 1.24-3.75 Efficacy index 1 .90** 1.14-3.16 Social support index 2.09** 1.29-3.38 AWSO Participant ± 2.44*** 1.42-4.19 *p <.05, **p <.01, ***p <.001. + Unless otherwise noted, all variables are low (mean and below) versus high. ± No versus yes. Egypt and Jordan versus Yemen. To assess the relative importance of different socio-demographic, social psychological and social factors in explaining agency, we conducted multiple logistic regression. As shown in Table 4, four factors explained a higher than average level of agency: access to information, efficacy, perceived social support and participation in the AWSO workshops. These associations were all in the expected direction and accounted for 14 percent (p <.000) of the variance in agency (Table 5). By contrast, age, educational attainment, employment status and nationality were not significantly related to agency in this multivariate analysis. Multiple logistic regression was also conducted to assess the odds of starting a new business venture and of participating in community meetings, holding age, education, marital status and work status constant. These regressions revealed that the odds of starting a new business venture were 2.5 times greater for participants than for non-participants, while the odds of taking an active part in community meetings was 2.3 times greater for participants versus non-participants (data not shown). Discussion The quantitative analyses demonstrate that AWSO participation was significantly correlated with active agency. In many cases, the video portraits seem to have had a direct and immediate effect. The women presented in the videos became important role models for participants as they began to rethink and restructure their lives. In the words of one participant: “What drew my attention was that Samia—as simple as she was—transformed her living conditions and . . . proved that a woman's role could be both inside and outside the house. All simple people should see this video as it touches their lives and realities. It taught me that I should start even with modest steps. Once we [women] know our rights and responsibilities, we can ask the men to stand by us. Now my husband and I discuss and decide together. I learned how to analyze issues, negotiate with and convince others” (emphases added). Another participant added: “All simple people should see this video as it touches their lives and realities. I learned a lot, we women allow others to dominate us, but once we know our rights and responsibilities, then we can ask the men to stand by us" (emphasis added). These quotations confirm Bandura's contention that role models are most compelling when the viewer or audience can identify with them. Both of the women quoted above emphasized the simplicity of the women in the video profiles; the women were like women they knew, similar to themselves so they felt enabled to follow suit. Even as the women portrayed in the videos provided realistic—and inspiring—role models, the training workshops gave participants opportunities to analyze their situations, practice negotiating skills, and explore their options with other women from similar backgrounds.

Authors: Underwood, Carol R. and Jabre, Bushra.
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Tracking #: ICA-19-11265
Table 4. Factors Associated with Above-average
Level of Agency
95% Confidence
Variable
+
Odds Ratio Interval
Age
1.47
.905-2.41
Education
.65
.384-1.11
Employed
±
.64
.355-1.53
Married
±
1.17 .697-1.95
Nationality
1.25 .884-1.79
Access to information
2.16**
1.24-3.75
Efficacy index
1 .90**
1.14-3.16
Social support index
2.09**
1.29-3.38
AWSO Participant
±
2.44***
1.42-4.19
*p <.05, **p <.01, ***p <.001.
+
Unless otherwise noted, all variables are low (mean and
below) versus high.
±
No versus yes.
Egypt and Jordan versus Yemen.

To assess the relative importance of different socio-demographic, social psychological and social
factors in explaining agency, we conducted multiple logistic regression. As shown in Table 4,
four factors explained a higher than average level of agency: access to information, efficacy,
perceived social support and participation in the AWSO workshops. These associations were all
in the expected direction and
accounted for 14 percent (p <.000) of
the variance in agency (Table 5). By
contrast, age, educational attainment,
employment status and nationality
were not significantly related to agency
in this multivariate analysis.

Multiple logistic regression was also
conducted to assess the odds of starting
a new business venture and of
participating in community meetings,
holding age, education, marital status
and work status constant. These
regressions revealed that the odds of
starting a new business venture were
2.5 times greater for participants than
for non-participants, while the odds of
taking an active part in community
meetings was 2.3 times greater for participants versus non-participants (data not shown).
Discussion

The quantitative analyses demonstrate that AWSO participation was significantly correlated with
active agency. In many cases, the video portraits seem to have had a direct and immediate effect.
The women presented in the videos became important role models for participants as they began
to rethink and restructure their lives. In the words of one participant: “What drew my attention
was that Samia—as simple as she was—transformed her living conditions and . . . proved that a
woman's role could be both inside and outside the house. All simple people should see this video
as it touches their lives and realities. It taught me that I should start even with modest steps. Once
we [women] know our rights and responsibilities, we can ask the men to stand by us. Now my
husband and I discuss and decide together. I learned how to analyze issues, negotiate with and
convince others” (emphases added). Another participant added: “All simple people should see
this video as it touches their lives and realities. I learned a lot, we women allow others to
dominate us, but once we know our rights and responsibilities, then we can ask the men to stand
by us" (emphasis added).

These quotations confirm Bandura's contention that role models are most compelling when the
viewer or audience can identify with them. Both of the women quoted above emphasized the
simplicity of the women in the video profiles; the women were like women they knew, similar to
themselves so they felt enabled to follow suit. Even as the women portrayed in the videos
provided realistic—and inspiring—role models, the training workshops gave participants
opportunities to analyze their situations, practice negotiating skills, and explore their options with
other women from similar backgrounds.


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