Surveying Rural Residents’ Attitude towards Rural Women's Abilities in Dehyari Executive Management Case Study: Palat Kaleh & Bala Papkyadeh Villages, Langroud



In Iran, rural areas had been always accounted for as tributaries to the government and as integrated by an administrator or a body of managers (called owners, supervisors, deputies, Kadkhoda). Following the revolution in Iran and due to political and socio-economic condition then, a law was passed in the parliament whereby the management of the rural affairs had to be shouldered by Rural Islamic Councils, and the villages were accounted for as government units at the lowest level of political hierarchy. After years since the enforcement of that law, due to the progress in way of management according to empowerment rural community and appearing several executive problems in rural management, in 1997 the parliament approved a new law as "establishment of self sufficient Dehyaries (rural executive managements) in all Iranian villages" whereby all of the executive affairs have shouldered by "Dehyar" (head of Dehyari) who is selected for 4 year period by Rural Islamic Council of the village.
It seems changes over the last decades have led to a shift in traditional perception of women, shown by the number of them in the fields of education and employment; and naturally the rural women are not exceptions. Their past activities in management of Vareh as well as their presence now in rural executive management (Dehyar) approves the fact that this great human resource is getting more involved in public arenas. Formally, for the first time in the country, rural women participate in rural management through Islamic Rural Council. Based on the report of “Iran Municipalities and Rural Management Organization” (2010) in the second period of Dehyary elections (2007-2011) 548 women Dehyars out of 21681 total ones were selected and consequently 2.5% of total Dehyarys were managed by rural women.

The method of this study is both qualitative (interview and observation) and interactive planning. In data-collecting the survey method and questionnaire technique are used for testing hypothesizes. Then, the gathered data processed and analyzed by Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). For the validity of measurement tools, the construct validity method by "factor analysis" is used; and to determine the reliability of the method, "Cronbach's alpha" is utilized. According to experts in Gilan province- which ranked 3rd for the number of women in the Dehyary in Iran- among 1175 Dehyaies. in the province which covers about 43 percent of villages, rural women are responsible for 40 Dehyaries (3.4%). The study population consists of two village residents. "Palat-Kaleh" village with Dehyari grade 2 and 105 households and 343 people, and "Bala-Papkyadeh" with Dehyari, 2 and 170 households and 522 people are managed by female and male Dehyar, respectively. Statistical society is the population over 18 years old in both villages. Accordingly, any person over 18 years old among residents of both villages is considered as a unit of analysis and the quota sampling has been used to determine the sample size. Thus, the sample size includes 240 persons (120 women and 120 men) of the both mentioned villages.

The research findings clearly indicate that there is a close correlation between two variables of gender socialization and gender stereotypes with the villager's attitude towards rural women's ability in executive management. According to the conceptual framework of research, people learn in socialization process to act based on values and norms of their gender. Despite the equality of men and women in having talent and rationality, they can obtain unequal chances. The reason is gender ideology and gender norms of society that expects people behave in accordance with it. In adulthood, when both sexes enter to the society, they take the labor division based on their gender and sex. The private and public areas work assign to women and men, respectively. As mentioned, it attributed to characteristics of male and female which both sexes earn in socialization process; therefore, women in public roles often lead to supportive and rearing roles which they usually do in the house area and female values. Indeed, with the entry of women into management areas, these roles transfer from house to society. While, those occupations which need to expertise, courage, determination, supervision, and extensive relationships take place in men's scope. At the same time, some occupations such as management that include many of mentioned properties consider as men works. The results confirm the women of both villages are more positive than men towards women‘s abilities in executive management, whereas men believe more in gender patterns.

It can be concluded from the overall findings that the varieties of gender stereotypes the most correlated factor with the individuals' attitude and the most controversial factor among rural women and men. It seems that girls' education issue is almost institutionalized in the mind of rural people; and they have accepted that girls have equal ability to science learning compared to men and can go to the city for further education. About labor division between men and women, a kind of change is occurring in the private areas. The findings indicate that the issue of rural women's management is still unresolved yet and needs more time. This research and its findings can be a proof for other researches in the field of women's management as well as rural women's activities. Thus, cultural norms, values and prevalent beliefs in society are intimately linked with the activities of women in the public areas.