The Impact of Sanctions and Neo-Liberalism on Women’s Organising in Iran

Povey, Tara. 2016. The Impact of Sanctions and Neo-Liberalism on Women’s Organising in Iran. Social Sciences, 5(3), pp. 1-14. [Article]

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Abstract or Description

As in the case of many contemporary movements, Iranian women’s activism is connected into local, international and transnational politics. However, Iranian women’s views of transnational solidarity and perceptions of foreign support for women’s rights in Iran are complicated by the experience of Western foreign policy of the last three decades. This is perceived to have claimed to support women’s rights and liberalism against what is often described as a “conservative theocratic state” but has, in some ways, made it
more difficult for women to organise “on the ground” and strengthened the hand of conservative forces both materially and ideologically. Two facets of Western foreign policy towards Iran will be discussed and analysed in relation to their impact on women; firstly, this article will investigate the impact of sanctions and the international isolation of the country since 1979 on women’s organisations. Secondly, it will analyse neo-liberalism and the changing nature of the Iranian state, as well as political elites. Utilising interviews with Iranian women activists conducted in 2009, in addition to April 2015, the article will discuss views of transnational solidarity and the diverse political strategies utilised by women activists and organisations in Iran today.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Iran; women; transnational politics; activism; sanctions; neo-liberalism

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Sociology > Unit for Global Justice (UGJ)


23 June 2016Published

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Aug 2018 14:22

Last Modified:

09 Jun 2021 13:15

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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