The role, place, and power of middle-class women in the Islamic Republic

Shahin Gerami, Missouri State University

Abstract

This chapter focuses on urban middle-class women's assessment of their role and place in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The rise of Islamic fundamentalism provides a unique opportunity to explore women's attitudes toward their proper role and place. One can predict that women will express more willingness to hold and exercise power in the family and society. Like the functional order, the spatial system limits and rejects women's equal right to political and economic resources. Women's status has been a subject of debate not only among scholars, but leaders of the Republic as well. An increased number of women in higher education and in the labor market suggests their support for equality of employment and educational opportunities for women. Women support sex role specialization but they do not support spatial segregation. Islamic literature contains references to woman's physical and mental weakness and her emotional instability.