History and Development of Policies on Gender Issues in Iran and Saudi Arabia

2462 Words 10 Pages
“Gender, refers not to a fixed biological notion of sex, but rather to the “appropriate” social and cultural roles that society values as normal or desirable.” Thus, gender issues can be defined as those issues that evolve in response to such roles. The Middle East often attracts scrutiny in the international arena for its responses to these gender issues, and the contradictory nature of their gender policies. However, it is important to note that many factors can shape these gender norms, and these “… are the result of long historical processes influenced by the state, religion, culture, law, morality, sexuality, ideology, and economic forces as well as contemporary changes and challenges.” Thus the policies that have evolved in …show more content…
Iran however, experienced various forms of gender liberalisation much earlier than Saudi Arabia, through women’s participation in movements such as the Tobacco protest of 1891-92 and the Constitutional Revolution of 1905-11. This gave women in Iran great confidence and political maturity, and although this was not reflected in the 1905 Constitution, women continued to be involved in social and political movements in order to change these policies. Although governed by strict Shari’a law, the installment of the Pahlavi regime (1925-79), initially under Reza Shah Pahlavi, saw a dramatic change in women’s rights and gender issues, and again

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