Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh, "Iranian Women and Gender in the Iran-Iraq War" (Syracuse UP, 2021)


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Eighteen months after Iran’s Revolution in 1979, hundreds of thousands of the country’s women participated in the Iran-Iraq War (1980–88) in a variety of capacities. Iran was divided into women of conservative religious backgrounds who supported the revolution and accepted some of the theocratic regime’s depictions of gender roles, and liberal women more active in civil society before the revolution who challenged the state’s male-dominated gender bias. However, both groups were integral to the war effort, serving as journalists, paramedics, combatants, intelligence officers, medical instructors, and propagandists. Behind the frontlines, women were drivers, surgeons, fundraisers, and community organizers. The war provided women of all social classes the opportunity to assert their role in society, and in doing so, they refused to be marginalized.

Despite their significant contributions, women are largely absent from studies on the war. In Iranian Women and Gender in the Iran-Iraq War (Syracuse UP, 2021), Farzaneh chronicles in copious detail women’s participation on the battlefield, in the household, and everywhere in between.

Mateo Mohammad Farzaneh is associate professor of history and the Principal of the Mossadegh Initiative at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago. He is an expert in the history of Iran and the modern Middle East. His first book, The Iranian Constitutional Revolution and the Clerical Leadership of Khurasani won the National History Honor Society Best First Book Award in 2016. For more info visit

Amir Sayadabdi is a lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington. He is mainly interested in anthropology of food and its intersection with gender studies, migration studies, and studies of race, ethnicity, and nationalism.

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