Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Publication Date

Fall 2017

Department 1



In this paper, I challenge the notion that Muslim or Middle Eastern women are passive acceptors of discrimination. After examining how Iranian women resisted governmental discrimination following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, I consider a number of factors that may have led to the reversal of some of these discriminatory policies in the 1990’s. How much of an effect did women’s demands for equality have on the government’s decisions? This question of effectiveness introduces a longtime debate between Islamic feminists, who advocate for working with the theocratic government and using Islam to frame their demands for equality, and secular feminists, who advocate for using legal and political systems to reach a similar goal. Following a critical evaluation of each approach, the question evolves into whether a radical or a resonant frame is more effective. After taking into account the masculinity and power complexes of government leaders, I suggest that a resonant approach is in a unique position to successfully manipulate the government, which could lead to the reversal of discriminatory policies. However, the women’s rights movement will be most powerful if the two sides put aside their differences and unite in the fight against discrimination.


This paper was written for Professor Amy Evrard's course, ANTH 218: Islam and Women, Fall 2017.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.