This paper reviews the experience of Iranian women during the reform era (1997–2004) from a postcolonial feminist theoretical perspective, and challenges the mainstream literature on women in the Muslim world in its tendency to portray them as passive victims. Iranian women provide an example of women resisting, negotiating, and pressing for their rights, transforming their position while their employment increased. However, the forces of globalization and the impact of the national and international political economy played an important role in the defeat of the reform movement, undermining women’s efforts and paving the way for religious conservative victories in the 2004 parliamentary elections and President Ahmadinejad’s election in 2005 on a platform of economic justice. The irony is that economic problems led to the victory of a religious conservatism unfavorable to women’s rights.

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