Gender and the Right to the Space: The Impact of Modern Architecture on Elimination of Private Spaces for Women in Iran

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 33 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Ladan RAHBARI, PhD in sociology, Iran
Iranian home is a multi-functional unit and is used as private, semi-private and public space. Due to Iranian norms of social interaction, and the concentration of a vast majority of social practices inside the house, it is not unconventional for the outsiders to enter the house. This sort of intrusion disrupts household activities which are more related to women's roles than men's. The Iranian house has still kept its traditional functions despite the large alterations in its functions and structure. Domestic space is used for interacting with everyone including the outsiders and the "Namahram" whom are male social actors unwelcome to interact with female residents of the house. Women have to appear in hijab and socially accepted dress code in front of the strangers. This paper will discuss how the openness of the domestic spaces introduced by modern architecture has reduced the privateness of domestic space and as a result decreased the realization of women's right to the space. The modern architecture and changes brought by it to the domestic space, such as the deletion of traditional only-female spaces called "Andarouni" and excluding barriers that provide privacy for female residents, has not been conformed to the Iranian lifestyle and patterns of social relations Iranian contemporary architecture has adopted characteristics of the modern home design movements, while the social relations have stayed traditional and unchanged and therefore has not acknowledged women's right to the appropriation of the domestic space.