This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Muslim Women of Influence: A Cross-Cultural Study of Aspirations of Muslim Women in Morocco and the United States




Ahmed, Nighet

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


Issues concerning the role and status of women in society are not new; the post- 9/11 period has put the Muslim women on center-stage as key players in global peace. This renewed interest in Muslim women has spawned a burgeoning body of research. However, researchers have focused mainly on obstacles that hinder women’s advancement to positions of influence, with a paucity of research literature that investigates motivating factors that propel women to become change agents. This quantitative, cross-cultural study examined the aspirations or life goals of Muslim women from two cultures: Morocco (N=68) and the United States (N=80). The participants included Muslim women who served as mentors/leaders, either in codified leadership positions or in non-positional leadership roles, and thereby maintained a degree of influence in their respective communities. Participants were recruited using the exponential non-discriminative snowball sampling technique. This study, couched in the tenets of the self-determination theory, used the Aspirations Index questionnaire developed by Kasser and Ryan (1993, 1996) to investigate the aspiration for health plus two other domains of aspirations: intrinsic and extrinsic. The study examined the relationships between these aspirations and demographic variables, including country of residence, the types of organization these women were affiliated with, and the length of time in a leadership position. Analysis of data were conducted using descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, Bonferroni post hoc procedure, and Pearson correlation. Results indicated that intrinsic aspirations were higher than extrinsic aspirations for both groups. Findings also demonstrated statistically significant differences between the Moroccan and U.S. women with regard to all three intrinsic aspirations and the extrinsic aspiration for fame, and for health. The effect size ranged from small to large. Besides academe, this study’s finding has practical implications for governmental and nongovernmental organizations working with women’s educational and workforce development, especially in Muslim settings.