Changing Gender Stereotypes in Iran



Abstract In recent decades, because of the vast socio-cultural changes which occurred in Iran, Iranian women have experienced new values and identities and they have achieved more advanced education and consciousness, so that they oppose the gender stereotypes which attribute inferior characteristics to women and cause inequalities and limitations in their everyday life. Although gender stereotypes still exist both in people’s minds and in Iranian social institutions, it seems that the intensity of gender stereotypes is declining nowadays. The findings of this study demonstrate that in the domestic sphere, gender stereotypes tend to persist and this situation causes some paradoxes in the responsibilities and values concerning family. Women have stepped into the public sphere and participated in providing the family expenditures, but men still underestimate household chores and do not tend to take part in them. On the other hand, occupations are still divided into feminine and masculine in the minds of Iranians. Accordingly, a large section of Iran’s job market is still considered masculine. However, gender views towards women’s employment show some improvement so that working outdoors is not allocated only to men and women’s employment is accepted. Finally, it is found that the intensity of gender differentiation is declining both in people’s minds and social institutions.