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Gallup Polling of Turkish Women’s Opinions about Headscarves

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Western discussions of Muslim women’s public attire seldom take into account what women themselves think about this issue. In the past decade, the Gallup Organization has been polling intensively in Turkey and other Muslim countries. A Gallup poll done in Turkey in 2008 found that 45 percent of Turkish women surveyed said they wore a headscarf in public. Gallup found that the custom is more widespread among older women: 71 percent of those 45 or older said they covered their head in public, versus 40 percent of those 30 to 44 and 29 percent of those 15 to 29.  As to what lay behind women’s choices, “less than 5 percent of respondents mentioned tradition, obeying a male relative, or making one feel confident as reasons why they wear headscarves in public. These findings suggest that in Turkey those who wear a headscarf do so to express their religious identity and fulfill their spiritual obligation, not because of coercion.”
A range of views on Muslim women’s attire are discussed in three titles on the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf: Leila Ahmed’s analysis A Quiet Revolution: The Veil's Resurgence, From the Middle East to America, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, and G. Willow Wilson’s memoir The Butterfly Mosque.


Gallup Organization. “Headscarves and Secularism: Voices From Turkish Women.” Gallup World, Inc., 2008. Available from Gallup World website

How to Cite This Page

"Muslim Journeys | Item #105: Gallup Polling of Turkish Women’s Opinions about Headscarves", May 21, 2024


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