Political Science Project Topics

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGS) and Women’s Political Participation in Iran (2015-2021)

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGS) and Women’s Political Participation in Iran (2015-2021)

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGS) and Women’s Political Participation in Iran (2015-2021)


Objective of the Study

The main objective of this study is to investigate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and women’s political participation in Iran (2015-2021). Specific objectives of this study include to:

  1. Investigate the level of participation of women in the socio-political development of Iran.
  2. Examine the impact of women’s empowerment on the socio-political development of Iran.
  3. Assess the opportunities, barriers and perspectives of socio-political participation of women in Iran.



Conceptual Review

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

The world pledges to realise the 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 as a unified and interconnected set of global goals (Fig-1). The SDGs address the most serious global issues of our day, building on the successes of their predecessors the MDGs and requiring cooperative partnerships between nations to balance the three pillars of sustainable development, economic growth, environmental sustainability, and social inclusion (The United Nations, 2020).

Fig 1. Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Goal 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

SDGs also known as the Global Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty and gender discrimination, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity in years to come. These 17 Goals build focuses on areas such as climate change, gender inequality, innovation, sustainable consumption, peace and justice, among other priorities. The goals are interconnected – often the key to success on one will involve tackling issues more commonly associated with another. The SDGs work in the spirit of partnership and pragmatism to make the right choices now to improve life, sustainably, for future generations. For all nations to adopt following their own goals and global environmental concerns, they set clear principles and targets. The SDGs represent a diverse agenda. They address the underlying causes of poverty and bring us all together to effect change that is good for the world and for people (UNDP, 2020).




As society has advanced in the modern era, the concept of participation has been enlarged to encompass all spheres of social life. Open society participation is based on individual, consciously made decisions. Despite what some participants may have thought, this problem has not yet materialised. It is hampered by social, political, and cultural considerations. Women’s political involvement in the process of sustainable development and its organisation as organised participation hold a special place in emerging nations. According to official data, women make up 50 percent of Iran’s 70 million inhabitants. Sustainable progress in the economic, social, political, and cultural spheres is made possible by women’s involvement in social activities (Pourmokhtari, 2017).

In modern society, women’s positions are unstable. Iranian women couldn’t have continued by acknowledging themselves and their prospective capacities for publicly acknowledging and fulfilling their rights. It appears that women have encountered significant issues and difficulties in getting their skills, abilities, and social rights recognised. Their involvement in the process of sociopolitical evolution is one of the crucial justifications for the acknowledgement of social and civil rights. This topic is so crucial that Aristotle defined a citizen as someone who has the right to participate in activities and believed participation to be the essence of political existence (Pourmokhtari, 2017).

Iranian women’s society has undergone some modifications during the past few decades. It is no longer possible to keep women on the periphery of sociopolitical relations due to increased knowledge and the spread of higher education. They need some bases to advance to better positions. The reality is that Iranian women today dispute the policy of attendance and involvement in important societal management. According to a 2008 report on human development published by the United Nations Organization’s Civil Program, 60% of students admitted to institutions were women. (State Educational Testing Organization statistics support the aforementioned percentage of girls admitted to institutions in recent years) ( Shahidian, 2020). In 2016, the literacy rate among women was 36% which increased to 72% in 1996. This ratio has exceeded 84% today. Positions of girls in different scientific and literary Olympiads and increasing potential abilities of the women in managerial and artistic fields are indicative of increasing trends of self-belief morale and readiness for attendance in society(WHO, 2019).

Despite having social awareness, knowledge, and abilities, women don’t have a significant part in the country’s management. According to statistics released by the United Nations Organization (2018), the percentage of Iranian women in management and law has been reported to be 16%, whereas the Philippines, Angola, the Caiman Islands, and Mongolia have the greatest percentages, respectively, with 58%, 52%, 51%, and 50%. As of July 2018, only 5 of the 12 nations being evaluated had a higher percentage of women in management and law than Iran, which was ranked 101 overall. Scandinavia has had the largest percentage (Tambiah, 2019). The lowest share relates to Pakistan (3%), Qatar (5%), Oman and Saudi Arabia (9%) and United Arab Emirates (8%)( 2018). In this regard, the status of Iran is close to the lowest status of the countries while the quality and quantity of major classes of graduates, scientific, specialized and technical awareness of Iran are not comparable to these countries.



Rights-based Approaches to Women in Governance and Affirmative Action

To create a more representative, participatory, and responsible government for development, inclusive democracy is being promoted more and more as a necessary component of democratic values and politics (Burkova, 2017). In this context, “governance” refers to the “institutions, methods, and processes of the state, the market, and civil society through which citizens articulate their interests, exercise their rights, and mediate their disputes” (Burkova, 2017), Women are highlighted as the largest social group excluded from involvement in government in most nations by emphasising inclusivity and democratic politics. Systematic social, economic, and political squalor as well as the depreciation of social identity are all effects of the political economy of gender and other interconnected types of discrimination, such as race or caste. So, the central claim of this chapter is that to increase women’s substantive freedoms or capabilities in terms of resources and agency, “to lead lives that they have reason to value,” social justice must be ensured through equitable participation of women in governance (Najmabadi, 2018).



Summary of Findings

As this thesis has demonstrated, the Iranian women’s movement has existed for more than a century and is still going strong. The Iranian instance is particularly intriguing because, despite efforts by the Iranian government to invalidate women, the progress made in this direction since the Constitutional Revolution has continued. In conclusion, the women’s movement in Iran changed as Iranian history did. Moreover, in the 20th century, women’s participation in the fight for the constitution altered their environment irrevocably. Women’s active participation in such a crucial social fight not only made it so that males could no longer ignore women’s status in society, but it also gave women a platform from which to demand changes for their benefit.

When the first feminist women appeared, education was seen as one of the key pillars in empowering women. But, despite successes on the front of women’s empowerment, a more important cause—first, the establishment of the constitution, then the assembly—was abandoned in favour of the struggle for women’s emergence. The post-constitutional era and the political unrest that the Iranian state was experiencing at the time gave women the opportunity to fully direct their movement rather than having it subordinated by a more important cause. However, this phase was brief, and the rise of the first Pahlavi Shah and his son later altered the women’s movement once more. In the modernising context, women were primarily employed to weaken the influence of the ulama. The goal of this action was to lessen the influence the ulama elite formerly held on society. This environment restricted women because no group could grow independently from the regime. Women were thus urged to continue their movement by working with the government. Then, despite their small numbers, women either affected the direction of women’s activity or actively participated in it by joining the Shahs’ newly founded women’s organisations.


As is clear, the Middle East does not fall into the categories established by Western scholars due to its diverse architecture, history, and cultures. It is not altogether surprising that Middle Eastern social movements do not fit the model because those scholars contributed to the study of social movements by, for instance, looking at their own cultures and history. Through time, the regions change, their experiences change, and movements change most significantly In fact, what we can say today about the Iranian women’s movement is entirely different from what we could say five years ago. The women’s movement appears to be advancing more individually than collectively as a result of the failure of the Green Movement and the women’s movement’s return to the underground due to the regime’s severe suppression. A woman donned a hijab in 2017 and waved it like a flag in opposition to the government. This action was unplanned and unique. But, as more women began to remove their headscarves similarly, scores were jailed in 2018.


The following recommendations were  made in this study:

  1. Time should be taken into consideration when changing the sort of strategy. Work schedules will be implemented as part of these strategies. Women employees ought to be given the option to choose a certain time for the start and end of their shifts.
  2. Each post should be reformed to be performed by two part-time employees, with employees working fewer than five days per week for 40 hours. These strategies enable female workers to deal with issues at home and work.
  3. For women to succeed in a patriarchal workplace, they need talent, encouragement, and resolve. It is vital to adopt new policies and appoint women in different organisational areas.
  4. putting effort towards creating an appropriate job route. Men succeed in the workplace because they are focused on a certain task and its purpose. Women’s professional objectives must be free from non-concentration and distraction.
  5. Women should exhibit the necessary abilities and proper conduct for competitiveness. stereotypes about women being fair, emotional, irrational, aimless, fearful goals, weak in quantitative analysis, and unable of making decisions have been pervasive for a while. Women are prevented from working and succeeding in management because of these preconceptions.
  6. building trust and self-confidence. Women need to get over their insecurities. According to studies, women tend to credit luck rather than talent and competence for their success. This mindset hinders the advancement of women in the organisation and has a negative impact on others. Women are inspired by the traditional notion of gender roles, which emphasises submission and non-competitive behaviour, to avoid engaging in such activity for fear of losing their appeal.
  7. Since the lack of equality between women and men in political competition is a historical outcome, it is important to consider practical strategies and necessary planning and facilitating conditions for women to enter, be present, and survive, and political events should take a stance regarding the presence of women in scenes.


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