Away from Home: Iranian Women, Displacement, Cultural Resistance, and Change


Moghissi, Haideh. 1999. "Away from Home: Iranian Women, Displacement, Cultural Resistance, and Change." Journal of Comparative Family Studies 30 (2): 1-10.

Author: Haideh Moghissi


This article discusses the gender character of displacement. Using the example of the Iranian female diaspora, it argues that women's experience of displacement is relatively more positive than that of men, and women, generally, are more prepared and make more efforts to build a home away from home. However, the pressures for cultural resistance against the dominant culture and the institutional racism in the host country may counterbalance the impact of women's positive experiences. Under the banner of 'cultural resistance', patriarchal values and sexist norms are revitalized within the family as well as in the community, and the voices of dissent are muted and dismissed as outside influences.

Keywords: displacement, cultural resistance, diaspora, gender identity, migration


  • In her article, Moghissi argues that gender-based discrimination persisted within communities of displaced Iranian women despite the relatively progressive nature of their new environments. This persistence of conventional gender roles, she writes, stemmed from a desire to “maintain community dignity and cultural identity” (1) even if this compromised women’s rights. 
  • Many Iranians who have migrated to European countries feel the need to cling to elements of their culture that they feel define them, and the elements of their culture that they seek to uphold oftentimes involve gender roles. Although the majority of the Iranian diaspora community come from middle-class, secular, educated backgrounds, they still uphold Iranian traditions as a way to cope with their new environments. Moghissi’s research proves that women tend to deal with changes that moving entails better than their male counterparts; they are often able to find work in typically “male” spheres, whereas displaces Iranian men often leave the well-developed careers they had had in Iran for low-paying jobs elsewhere.
  • The racism that displaced Iranian women face in their new host societies also contributes to a desire to cling to old traditions. They crave a sense of belonging, so they often revert back to the patriarchal traditions that governed their past lives. Because the female Iranian daispora clings to these conventional gender norms, all “feminist” activity is categorized as outsider, Western influence. Despite this, Moghissi believes that through Iranian women’s involvement in the women’s movement abroad, they will “inevitably bring to their community more awareness about social problems in the host country and may inspire new commitments for it and force the community to get more involved in the struggle for social justice” (8).

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Ethnicity, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households Regions: MENA, Asia, Middle East Countries: Iran

Year: 1999

Educating Students About the War on Drugs: Criminal and Civil Consequences of a Felony Drug Conviction


Reynolds, Marylee. 2004. "Educating Students about the War on Drugs: Criminal and Civil Consequences of a Felony Drug Conviction." Women's Studies Quarterly 32 (3-4): 246-60.

Author: Marylee Reynolds


American society is a patriarchal one, where the needs, issues, and concerns of women are largely ignored. It should not be surprising then, that when legislators enact crime control policies. Especially drug policies, the social and economic impact of such policies on women is rarely considered. Here, Reynolds examines the criminal and civil consequences of a felony conviction for women, including how legislative policies penalize women, particularly women of color.

Keywords: public administration, intersectionality, criminal justice, war on drugs

Topics: Economies, Gender, Patriarchy, Gender Equality/Inequality, Justice, Race Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2004

Feminist-Nation Building in Afghanistan: An Examination of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)


Fluri, Jennifer. 2008. "Feminist-Nation Building in Afghanistan: An Examination of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)." Feminist Review 89 (1): 34-54.

Author: Jennifer L. Fluri


Women-led political organizations that employ feminist and nationalist ideologies and operate as separate from, rather than associated with, male-dominated or patriarchal nationalist groups are both significant and under-explored areas of gender, feminist, and nationalism studies. This article investigates the feminist and nationalist vision of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). RAWA exemplifies an effective political movement that intersects feminist and nationalist politics, where women are active, rather than symbolic, participants within the organization, and help to shape an ideological construction of the Afghan nation. RAWA subsequently links its struggle for women's rights (through feminism) with its nationalist goals for democracy and secularism. This article also analyses RAWA's use of conservative nationalist methods to reproduce the future of the organization and to develop ‘citizens’ for its idealized nation, while countering existing patriarchal social and familial structures through a re-configuration of women's roles in the family, community, and nation. This inquiry is based on geographic and feminist examinations of RAWA's organizational structure, literature, and political goals obtained through content analyses of RAWA's political literature and through interviews with RAWA members and supporters living as refugees in Pakistan in the summer of 2003 and winter of 2004/05. RAWA is an instructive example of counter-patriarchal and nationalist feminist politics that questions patriarchal definitions of the nation and its citizenry by reconfiguring gender norms and redefining gender relations in the family as a mirror of the nation.

Keywords: feminist, nation-building, reconstruction, governance

Topics: Citizenship, Civil Society, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Roles, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Nationalism, Political Participation, Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan

Year: 2008

Rape as a Weapon of War: Advancing Human Rights for Women at the U.S.-Mexico Border


Falcón, Sylvanna. 2001. "Rape as a Weapon of War: Advancing Human Rights for Women at the U.S.-Mexico Border." Social Justice 28 (2): 31-50.

Author: Sylvanna Falcon


Falcón examines the gendered effects of militarization on women at the U.S.- Mexico border, particularly in the form of "militarized border rape" and sexual assault. For Falcón, militarization ideology is embedded with issues of hyper-masculinity, patriarchy, and threats to national security. She maintains that violence against women has escalated to the serial, multiple, and mass murders of Mexican women (e.g., in the border city of Ciudad Juárez).

Keywords: war on drugs, militarization, rape, national security

Topics: Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Sexual Violence, Male Perpetrators, Rape, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Americas, North America Countries: Mexico, United States of America

Year: 2001

Gender Violence: A Development and Human Rights Issue


Bunch, Charlotte, and Roxanna Carrillo. 1991. Gender Violence: A Development and Human Rights Issue. New Brunswick, NJ: Center for Women's Global Leadership.

Authors: Charlotte Bunch, Roxanna Carrillo


This document includes two articles describing the failure of the international human rights movement to consider or remedy the situation of women outside of the basic demand for political rights of people in general. The first article, "Women's Rights as Human Rights: Toward a Re-Vision of Human Rights" (Charlotte Bunch), emphasizes the responsibility of governments and patriarchy for the perpetuation of violence against women. Little is done to remedy domestic violence, and in many countries females are routinely denied education, health care, and proper nutrition, with the result that they are unable to escape from the subjugated position that is traditional to the culture. The article explores the importance and difficulty of connecting women's rights to human rights. Four basic approaches that have been used to make the connection are: (1) women's rights as political and civil rights, (2) women's rights as socio-economic rights, (3) women's rights and the law, and (4) a feminist transformation of human rights. The second article, "Violence Against Women: An Obstacle to Development" (Roxanna Carrillo), specifically looks at strategies for combating violence against women as related to development planning. At multiple program levels, an awareness of cultural specific forms of gender violence can help identify and overcome obstacles impeding women's participation. Such programs must recognize that change can be threatening and can result in more violence. Women must be trained in communication skills, awareness of possible actions, management skills, and self defense. On a very direct level, projects can test one or more education campaigns and seek to make violence unacceptable within a society.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Humanitarian Assistance, Context-Appropriate Response to Trauma, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Year: 1992

Ever Shot Anyone?


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