chapter  8
9 Pages

All in the family

There is a consensus that women in Islamic societies have suffered extensive sex discrimination despite religious rhetoric that they are the perfect embodiment of Muslim originality and central to the social and moral order of Islamic soci ety.1 Are there sim ilar gender inequalities among Uyghur Muslims in China? Is religious affiliation related to gender inequalities among Uyghurs? How does Islamic affiliation affect Uyghur women’s status at home and in soci ety? The Ürümchi study was conducted to address these questions, and as such it helps narrow a knowledge gap in the literature on ethnic minorities in China, i.e. how religious affiliation affects gendered behaviour and outcomes. This is an important task given the role of religion in social relations among ethnic minorities in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The Ürümchi study contributes to research on ethnicity in China in other ways. It is one of the few attempts in the study of ethnic minorities in China to use both qualitative and quantitative data and involved unusual access to a research setting which is difficult for most others to study or to carry out research with a large sample. Its distinctions also include its abil ity to bring together the insights from mainstream social sciences (i.e. family studies and religious studies) for the analysis of the main mechanisms of sexual stratification among Uyghurs. Like many other studies of ethnic minorities in China, it draws narrative power from ethnographic research in describing Uyghur behaviour. It also relies heavily on various concepts and analytic methods from mainstream social science research for data analyses. To some extent, the Ürümchi study brings the study of ethnic minorities in China in line with mainstream social science research on ethnicity in the West. This chapter concludes the Ürümchi study by summarizing and reflecting on the main findings from data analyses, examining their theor et ical implications, and discussing some policy implications for a greater degree of gender equality among Uyghurs.