This study focuses on two inter-related questions: What effect did new media have on the Iranian women’s movement; and what impact did the women’s movement have on the Green Movement. Emergence and significance of new social communication technologies on struggles for social equality. Development of the women's movement in Iran during 100-year politically historically significant period from Constitutional Revolution 1905, world and regional wars to contemporary cyberfeminism, with focus on new media in a critical decade of the women’s movement (2003-2013) and related Green Movement of 2009.
During the Iranian women’s movement 100-year history Iranian women contributed actively to major political transitions including the Constitutional Revolution 1905 and Revolution of 1979. Yet efforts to secure equal rights achieved less success. The study examines four decades post-1979 revolution. The first two decades the women’s movement struggled to be heard. The third decade from 1999 the movement gained momentum. Internet, mobile phones and new media created opportunities to organize, build support abroad and mobilize large exile communities. Beginning 2006 worldwide Internet and global communication raised hopes for new effectiveness. The study analyses new media usage by women and civil activists in Iran, impacts, consequences on the women’s movement and interactions with the political Green Movement and related 2009 presidential campaign.
The study is structured in 10 chapters: Chapter 1 overview. Chapter 2 social political history of women's movement in Iran struggle for rights. Chapter 3 women’s movement impacts, political approaches, new media, Internet, micro-macro interactions. Chapter 4 pragmatic women's rights and social activists’ use of new media. Chapter 5 social context, political change, resistance. Chapter 6 new media as agent for diversity and pluralism. Chapter 7 Internet as double-edged sword, social political gains, government responses, technological controls. Chapter 8 regional impact in the Middle East. Chapter 9 scientific methods, primary research data, statistical analysis. Chapter 10 conclusions.
Primary data includes qualitative interviews with 18 experts in Iran and abroad, including women’s and civil rights activists, journalists, lawyers, political activists, artists, authors and students, regarding new media in the women’s movement in Iran. An online questionnaire with 278 respondents adds empirical quantitative data.
Statistical analysis supports findings that the women’s movement shaped the presidential election of 2009 in at least two ways: “policy influence” and “transformational dialogue.” Women’s rights activists evolved use of new media to promote pluralistic voicing of demands in public platforms, to open dialogues for discussion and to promote civil society “tolerance approaches” in contrast to constrained political status quo, factional interests and extremism.