The Status of Women in Urban Space in Contemporary Iran: a Literature Review

Behnam Hajisaghati


The paper aims at investigating the relationship between women and public space in Iranian society, and at reconstructing the evolution of this relationship from the 1979 Islamic Revolution until today. Islamization and globalization are seen as two opposite forces which influence such relationship in different directions. A review of the literature written on such topic in the last fifteen years is presented here. The first section of the paper provides a historical framework on the role of women in Iranian society from the Qajar era until today. A legal framework on gender inequalities in Iran is then presented, with a particular focus on the role of women in the urban planning arena. Literature is then mapped according to research methods being employed, and to scholars’ theoretical backgrounds. Significantly different approaches are adopted by scholars working in Iran, and scholars working elsewhere. The conclusive section synthesizes the main research findings, arguing that significant inequalities between genders still exist today in the usage of urban space in Iranian cities, and discussing possible future research paths.