The Occupational Challenges of Female Architects in Iran

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 7:45 PM
Room: 414
Oral Presentation
Masoumeh VELAYATI , College of Higher Education, Dundee, United Kingdom
Shiva VELAYATI , Architecture, University College of Nabi Akram, Tabriz, Iran
The Occupational Challenges of Female Architects in Iran

In the recent decades, Iranian women’s access to educational opportunities including the professional field of architecture, urban planning and engineering has been broadened.  However, despite the considerable number of professional women with qualified success and technical expertise, patterns of gender inequalities have been sustained through traditional social and cultural systems. Some of the patterns of gender inequality are related to monopolisation of managerial roles by men at senior level and job polarisation. Some are career-related experiences and authority issues in terms of practicing the profession. Traditionally architecture, building industry and construction management have been considered as male domain. When professional women enter these fields as engendering engineers, surveyors, or officials and hold the positions of power, their authority is challenged not only by un/semiskilled male workforce, but also by educated men under their management.

Having said that in the educational institutions, particularly private institutions, they receive positive discrimination compared to their male counterparts, as they do not demand high financial demands.  

Research on the challenges of female architects in Iran is scarce. Based on interviews, this paper aims to reflect the social, structural, and cultural challenges that young professional women in Iran experience. The paper will also shed light on women’s agency in overcoming the barriers and claiming their rights and authority within the male-dominated social structures.