State Ideology and Female School Enrollment in Iran

Akbar Aghajanian1, *, Vaida Thompson2, Ali A. Moqadas3
1 Department of Sociology, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC 28301, United States
2 Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, United States
3 Department of Sociology, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran

© Aghajanian et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

Correspondence: *Address correspondence to these authors at the Department of Sociology, Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC 28301, United States;


There are two forces that drive attitudes and behaviors in Iran. Strong Islamic, religious traditions that continue to dominate the culture exist in the presence of an emerging pattern of developmental idealism. This idealism, seen first in western societies, is associated with beliefs about and a striving toward such modern attributes as individualism, autonomy of children, nuclear families, equality between women and men, and planned family formation. It is thought that diffusion of this idealism occurs over time and cannot be fully controlled by traditional institutions and conservative governments. Because religious traditions in Iran have been most defined and restricted for females, we reasoned that an important and strong indicator of evidence of diffusion would be increases in female school enrollment. To explore these changes, we examined public record data for the period between 1976 and 2006. The data demonstrated clear advancements in education for women. The strong educational attainment of women during the period of study is parallel to findings in other areas, particularly in the realms of increase in age of marriage, control over reproductive behaviors including birth timing and family size, and are thus supportive of a strong trend toward developmental idealism [1-9]. This trend was facilitated by extensive expansion of access to educational institutions by the government.

Keywords: Development Idealism, education, Gender Inequality, Iran, Islamic government, Women.