Sohrab Behdad

Sohrab Behdad
Department of Economics, Denison University

Women’s Labor in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Losers and Survivors
This lecture is draws on a co-authored publication with by Farhad Nomani (American University of Paris). We examine the trajectory of changes in the nature of class structure of the female work force in the post-revolutionary Iran by investigating both the rate and the patterns of exclusion and incorporation of women into the job market between 1976 and 2006. In our study, we reorient and extend the economic marginalization thesis theoretically and test it empirically by focusing on the class nature of women’s exclusion (1980s) and incorporation (since 1990s) into the labor force. We present our empirical findings in the context of the social hierarchy of work, relying upon four decennial census data from the latest pre-revolutionary years to the most recent (1976-2006). Here we argue that the specific nature of economic marginalization, and not marginalization per se, has changed in the 1976-86, 1986-96 and 1996-2006 periods. These changes have occurred as a result of the interaction between patriarchal and capitalist forces under an Islamic state. We provide a comparative empirical analysis of the economic marginalization process for women’s and men’s class locations historically, and at the national and sectoral levels. We develop new statistical indices to detect and measure the absolute and relative intensity of gender exclusion from, and incorporation into, the market within different classes for men and women.

Sohrab Behdad received his Ph.D. in economics from Michigan State University. He was a professor in the Faculty of Economics of Tehran University for several years until he left for France in 1983. During his years in Tehran, he was a was a member of the Council of Faculty of Economics and a founding member of the National Association of University Professors. From 1976 to 1978, Dr. Behdad worked with Mohammad Qazi, Hamid Enayat, and Houshang Golshirir at the newly formed Tehran Technological University Press with the aim of the commission of a comprehensive collection of basic books and textbooks; he acted as the chief editor of the economics division of the press in this project. He returned to the United States and became a professor in the Department of Economics of Denison University. From 1992-1995, he was the Chair of Economics Department at Denison. Dr. Behdad was the Executive Secretary of the Middle East Economic Association (MEEA) form 1990 to 1993 and President of MEEA from 1994 to 1995. Currently, he is a co-chair MEEA Committee for Human Rights and Academic Freedom as well as a member of the Editorial Board of International Journal of Middle East Studies.