Women and Social Reforms

  • Haideh Moghissi
Part of the Women’s Studies at York Series book series (WSYS)


Feminist consciousness and women’s struggle against gender discrimination in any society seem to demand a certain level of socio-economic and political development. Much of women’s sufferings in third world societies relates to a low development of material production and the persistence of pre-capitalist social and economic structures that restrict women’s access to the society’s resources. Therefore, economic and social development are the main preconditions for women’s emancipation. Yet this does not mean that economic and social change will automatically lead to a change in women’s status. Deeply entrenched social norms and values inform patriarchal religious and cultural structures and practices that change more slowly and painfully. The political structure and the degree of women’s political and institutional participation in any society are also crucial factors in women’s emancipation. So are government policies and the commitment to empowering women not only through extended educational and employment opportunities and formal legal rights, but also through active support for women’s challenge to secular and religious patriarchal ideologies and customs.


Civil Code Social Reform Unilateral Divorce Democratic Organization Woman Lawyer 
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Copyright information

© Haideh Moghissi 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haideh Moghissi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology Atkinson CollegeYork UniversityTorontoCanada

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