Author(s): Nicholas Blanford, Hoodfar H, Sadr S
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Abstract The unification of a strong and authoritarian state with religious laws and institutions after the 1979 revolution in Iran has resulted in the creation of a dualistic state structure in which non-elected and non-accountable state authorities and institutions-the majority of whom have not accepted either the primacy of democracy nor the premise of equality between men and women (or Muslims and non-Muslims)-are able to oversee the elected authorities and institutions. The central question posed by this paper is whether a religious state would be capable of democratising society and delivering gender equality. By analysing the regime's gender policies and political development, the paper suggests that, at least in the case of Iran and Shi'ism, the larger obstacle to gender (and minorities') equality has more to do with the undemocratic state-society relations that persist in Iran and less to do with the actual or potential compatibility (or lack thereof) of religious traditions or practices with democratic principles.
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This article was published in Third World Q
and referenced in Arts and Social Sciences Journal