This work explores Islamism in practice and looks at the influence of state, economy and religion on women in Iran.
Drawing on original research into women's participation in the workforce, the author shows how the Islamization of state and society which followed the 1979 revolution involved an attempt by the Islamic state to seclude women within the home. Its power to transform gender relations, however, was constrained by many factors - the Iran-Iraq war, economic restructuring, and women's own responses to oppression.
Despite continual state attempts to strengthen patriarchal relationships throughout society and to maintain a rigid sexual division of labour, women's participation in the labour force in 1999 is greater than it was before the revolution, and gender consciousness is at a higher level than at the height of westernization in the 1960s and 70s. Religious and secular women in urban areas have allied to demand reforms and forced the Islamic state to return to the position of the pre-1979 reforms in relation to women and the family.