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A Space for their Own? Women-Only Parks in Iran, Pakistan and U.A.E

Arjmand, Reza LU (2013) 11th European Sociological Association conference, 2013
Abstract
As part of systematic endeavor to Islamize the society, Iranian Islamic government has bestowed efforts to create gender-segregated public urban spaces. The gender segregation was formally enforced in public places such as schools, sport halls, swimming pools, transportation facilities, etc. in last three decades. The most recent effort of the government includes “women-only parks”, claimed to be designed and administrated by women to accommodate the needs of women and provide space for social interaction and activities. The model was emulated in other countries across the Islamic world and received differently: some argue that such gendered spaces limit the already restricted interaction of sexes in such strictly engendered societies,... (More)
As part of systematic endeavor to Islamize the society, Iranian Islamic government has bestowed efforts to create gender-segregated public urban spaces. The gender segregation was formally enforced in public places such as schools, sport halls, swimming pools, transportation facilities, etc. in last three decades. The most recent effort of the government includes “women-only parks”, claimed to be designed and administrated by women to accommodate the needs of women and provide space for social interaction and activities. The model was emulated in other countries across the Islamic world and received differently: some argue that such gendered spaces limit the already restricted interaction of sexes in such strictly engendered societies, taking the social exclusion of women yet another step further; while others consider it re-appropriation of an indigenous spatial dichotomy (biruni/andaruni) in the religion and the local culture. Those engaged, however, maintain that parks have taken women's needs and requirements into consideration in such otherwise patriarchally structured society.

This paper is part of a larger empirical cross-disciplinary study on urban public spaces in Iran, Pakistan and U.A.E and is based on an ethnographical field study conducted in a number of parks (both women-only and mixed) in the respective countries. As a cross-disciplinary comparative study in collaboration with Centre for Middle Eastern Studies and School of Architecture and Environmental Design of Lund University, it endeavors to address and compare a wider array of perspectives on gendered urban spaces with foci on women parks among various groups of women as well as the urban designers and policy-makers in the countries studied. (Less)
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11th European Sociological Association conference, 2013
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English
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yes
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48bbad5f-1695-4fd9-a106-71aa84327ecd (old id 4222800)
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2014-01-07 11:35:24
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@misc{48bbad5f-1695-4fd9-a106-71aa84327ecd,
  abstract     = {As part of systematic endeavor to Islamize the society, Iranian Islamic government has bestowed efforts to create gender-segregated public urban spaces. The gender segregation was formally enforced in public places such as schools, sport halls, swimming pools, transportation facilities, etc. in last three decades. The most recent effort of the government includes “women-only parks”, claimed to be designed and administrated by women to accommodate the needs of women and provide space for social interaction and activities. The model was emulated in other countries across the Islamic world and received differently: some argue that such gendered spaces limit the already restricted interaction of sexes in such strictly engendered societies, taking the social exclusion of women yet another step further; while others consider it re-appropriation of an indigenous spatial dichotomy (biruni/andaruni) in the religion and the local culture. Those engaged, however, maintain that parks have taken women's needs and requirements into consideration in such otherwise patriarchally structured society. <br/><br>
This paper is part of a larger empirical cross-disciplinary study on urban public spaces in Iran, Pakistan and U.A.E and is based on an ethnographical field study conducted in a number of parks (both women-only and mixed) in the respective countries. As a cross-disciplinary comparative study in collaboration with Centre for Middle Eastern Studies and School of Architecture and Environmental Design of Lund University, it endeavors to address and compare a wider array of perspectives on gendered urban spaces with foci on women parks among various groups of women as well as the urban designers and policy-makers in the countries studied.},
  author       = {Arjmand, Reza},
  language     = {eng},
  title        = {A Space for their Own? Women-Only Parks in Iran, Pakistan and U.A.E},
  year         = {2013},
}