analysis of exprience and issues of female managers in rural areas: case study of Isfahan province

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Msc of rural development- Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Tehran

2 Associate Professor in Faculty of Social Sciences- University of Tehran


Division of governance at various levels has led to proliferation of decision making arenas in different countries. Thus, proportion of women in areas of decision making divisions expanded in micro and macro levels of governance. Participation and role - playing of women in local level of governance had begun and developed in the most of the world including developed and developing countries in recent years. According to experts, this kind of governance in terms of ease of access and availability, closing to daily life, less competition, high probability of success and low risk of failure is considered as a field of making decisions which is suitable for women. Because of reasons above, female role – playing and participation in local government has been more than national level in most countries.
According to researches which are carried out about rural community of Iran, traditional gender relations and stereotypes defines women’s behaviors and actions. So, a kind of gender division of labor has been formed which determines strict norms and unchangeable gender roles. It means that in one hand, presence and role-playing of women in private and limited sectors such as family has been established, therefore rural community accepts it completely. On the other hand, participation of women in making important decisions of family is doubtful. So, there are various stereotypes which protect remaining women in a low level of role – playing and also condemned effective participation. In addition other findings about female participation in rural public affairs demonstrate that due to persistent gender stereotypes in rural culture, female participation in public arena is prohibited, so men are prioritized to obtain important positions of rural management.
In Iran, Dehyari is a kind of local governance which controls villages or rural regions. They are managed by both Dehrayr and Islamic rural council. So, they are considered as a field of participation of women in public decision making in rural regions. Since has been established, except Qom, most of them managed by a significant number of women in all provinces of Iran. Female participation as a head of rural management in the context of rural conservative culture is a noteworthy issue which is studied in case of experience and concerns of female Dehyars in Isfahan province.
According to census, numbers of female dehyars has been increased during 4 past election of Islamic rural council. Numbers of women in the first election (2005) was 150 out of 11.000 in the country with the share of 1.4%. In the second election (2008) it rises to 400 out of 21.000 in all provinces. In third election (2012) 888 female dehyar have participated out of 24.627 in total. And in the last period (2014) 1554 women out of 29.792 have attended in all rural regions in Iran. Therefore, statistics demonstrate a rising trend of presence of women in rural management.
This event is important in 3 dimensions. At first, Dehyaris as a kind of local government can be considered as a progressive way which can lead women to upper levels of governance such as parliament in national level. After that in rural context, presence of volunteer women for candidacy and their tendency to entre to public arena shows increasing the confidence of rural women. At last electing women as an executive director by the rural council who is considered as representative of rural society is another aspect of importance. It means that rural community admits that filling managerial positions by women.
The main purpose of this research is observation this phenomenon directly in a natural field. So, this research seeks to benefit from qualitative research method in the context of grounded theory be directly assessed. Sampling includes 2 parts. The main sample of the study consists of 8 female dehyars who 4 persons of them were the first female Dehyar in their own regions. In addition, Complementary sample includes 11 members of the Islamic rural council in 4 rural regions.
Findings demonstrate that experience of being manager or dehyar for women has formed in context of male pattern work in rural culture. Therefore women have to work in a male patterns of work. In this situation, Despite, gradual institutionalization of female management in rural areas during long time, the unprecedented experience of them is not recognized by rural community. As a result experience of being dehyar for women is known as a conflicting experience both by community and women. So, the status of women as a powerful managers is spending a period of transition which is located between acceptance and rejection.


Main Subjects

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