Women and Social Conditions in Iran

This study examines the degree of satisfaction with social conditions among Iranian women based on a sample collected from 335 women during 1992 and 1994. The paper focuses on variables that might be related to satisfaction with social conditions. A short survey was designed to measure the degree of women's satisfaction. It was hypothesized that: a) women who had come of age before the revolution would be less satisfied with their social conditions than younger women who grew up under the Islamic republic; 2) educated women, coming from better economic backgrounds and hence more exposed to western culture, would express lower satisfaction than less educated women and those coming from lower class backgrounds. The results show that satisfaction with physical and emotional conditions is closely related to satisfaction with social conditions. Furthermore, women's high or low levels of education did not appear to be a determining factor affecting their life satisfaction. However, women with a Master's degree or higher showed a higher degree of satisfaction. Regarding the impact of income on satisfaction, the middle income categories show more dissatisfaction, or the least satisfaction among all the income categories.

Since not all the respondents had reported their income, type of housing was also used as another way of measuring women's socioeconomic statues. Whether women work or are homemakers is statistically insignificant in terms of their satisfaction with the social conditions. However, the homemakers are approximately 4 to 5 percent less satisfied with the social conditions. Looking at the type of occupation, the most dissatisfied groups are secretaries, and those who do personal work. Personal work includes tailors and beauticians who work at their own homes. Of all women, excluding students and civil servants, teachers indicate the lowest degree of dissatisfaction. While no significant relationship between marital status and satisfaction emerged, interesting patterns surfaced. Married women reported the highest degree of satisfaction with social conditions. Among those who reported "no satisfaction at all", single women occupied the first place. As a whole, the findings in this study demonstrate that neither socioeconomic status--as measured by education, housing, and income-- employment status, or socio-demographic factors seem to affect the degree of satisfaction expressed by women in Iran.

Mahnaz Kousha & Navid Mohseni
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