The Green Movement: Its Roots and Causes from a Gender Perspective

Master's Thesis


The Green Movement ushers in a new chapter in the history of the Iranian democracy movement which began with the constitutional revolution of (1905-1911). For the first time the movement is also concerned about gender equality and women’s rights in the country.

It would be interesting to analyze the Green Movement from different perspectives. Looking at this movement through a gender perspective might shed light on an important dimension of the movement. A gender perspective is not only a matter of women’s rights but it is broader and includes power relations in different levels. I explain in this thesis the topic through a gender perspective focusing on two areas: the power relations and women rights. Women had an incredible participation in the movement such that even some western media called it “women’s revolution" in Iran. Women also were main actors in the movement trying to keep the Green Movement nonviolent.

To learn more about the causes of the Green Movement after the election in Iran through gender perspective, it might be better first to explain the ideological gaps which shape the power structure that has constituted an obstacle for women’s rights in Iran. The most effective ideological groups in Iran are conservative religious and moderate religious groups. All the other causes of the power structure are generated from this problem and the clash among these two groups. Their different views on governing and the source of law are the main sources of the clash after the presidential elections of 2009. The conservatives have a very patriarchal perspective on the power structure and women’s status, while the moderates are trying to modify Islam according to human rights and democracy.

Apart from this ideological gap in Iranian society, the women’s movement had an important impact on the democracy movement of Iran. The women’s movement began along with democracy movement with both emerging out of the Constitutional Revolution. It is still going on and strengthening over time. Women movements’ activities such as the One Million Signatures campaign and their big gatherings in June 2006 and 2009 could be considered as the grounds for the Green Movement of Iran. The women’s movement was also an integral component of the Green Movement and it is still strengthening the Green Movement of Iran through requesting equality and fundamental rights for half of the Iranian population and introducing nonviolent tactics and strategies into Iranian democracy movement, the Green Movement.

Looking through a gender perspective, the authoritarian power structure of government is the outcome of a patriarchal and traditional society in which the father or husband exercises excessive authority over the family and has almost absolute power. Therefore to change this structure, we need to change the family structures first.

This study is on the Green Movement and its gender dimensions. The recent presidential election in 2009 was highly controversial. Right after the announcement of the result, Mehdi Karoubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi’s supporters took to the streets to challenge the accuracy of the results. The protests were broad, as they managed to attract various segments of the Iranian society. The Islamic regime of Iran responded to the protests violently.

I decided to work on this topic for two reasons:

1. The movement is perceived as a new phenomenon and a remarkable development in the political history of Iran with a set of unique features in comparison to previous movements and revolutions;

2. Aside from some articles, little has been written on the movement from a gender perspective.

Although, there are a considerable number of articles on the Green Movement and some on its gender dimensions, I only found two books published on the movement so far. One is Iran: the Green Movement and the USA by Hamid Dabashi and the other is Iran: Green Movement written by Slater Bakhavar. These books also look at the movement in general, not from a gender perspective.


Attribute NameValues
  • etd-08032011-101140

Author Seyedehsaideh Eshraghi
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Peace Studies
Degree Name MA
Defense Date
  • 2011-07-02

Submission Date 2011-08-03
  • United States of America

  • University of Notre Dame

  • English

Record Visibility Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

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