An analysis of the impact of the Islamic revolution in Iran on Iranian women

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


International Studies

First Advisor's Name

Cheryl Rubenberg

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Charles MacDonald

Third Advisor's Name

Eduardo Gamarra

Fourth Advisor's Name

Mohiaddin Messbahi

Date of Defense



This study compares the status of women under the secular government of the Pahlavi Dynasty with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It relies on Hisham Sharabi's theory of neopatriarchal society and Fatima Mernissi's psychological analysis of the dynamics of gender relations in Islam. Both the Pahlavi dynasty and the Islamic regime promoted a perception of women's rights which were conducive to the ideologies of secularism and Islamism. Both regimes, however, worked within the framework of a patriarchal society by instituting policies that were misogynous in nature. This study found that the majority of Iran's female population was not greatly affected by the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty and the subsequent implementation of the Islamic regime. The basis of this argument lies in the fact that despite the contrasting ideologies of both governments, where women's issues are concerned, the patriarchal social structure remained virtually intact.



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