Women Studies


 

Talking about women is not a new issue. Apparently, as man learnt to talk and mastered the art of writing, he has referred to women as one of the pillars of creation.
God created mankind, and He made them of two sexes, man and woman, and the Almighty God praised Himself for such magnificent creation. Since then, everyone has looked at women differently, at times, they have been raised up to divinity, and have been praised as goddess, and at other times, they have been disgraced and demonized. At the same time, talking about women's rights has always been new, because it refers to something tainted with ignorance and bias, indicating a lack of understanding and neglect. Why should we talk about women's rights and why should we designate an academic community for this purpose' And why women and their rights have been emphasized in Islam, and why a single Sura has been devoted to them in Quran'
Fortunately, in Iran, with the institutionalization of the Islamic Revolution under the leadership of Late Imam, we witnessed a turn of attention towards women's issues. Imam Khomeini, in his speech and in practice, considered women's rights and the improvement of their status as one of the main strategies of the Islamic Revolution and a way to return to pure Islam. This attention made Islamic Revolution as the flag-bearer of Islamic legal system for women versus secular systems. Undoubtedly, the continuation of such a movement initiated by Imam is not possible today without sufficient academic and scientific backing.
In the last two decades, the world's academic centers have witnessed the emergence and growth of new and important women's studies. Women's studies is an academic field that draws on interdisciplinary methods in order to place women's lives and experiences at the center of study, while examining social and cultural constructs of gender; systems of privilege and oppression; and the relationships between power and gender as they intersect with other identities and social locations such as race, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, and disability.
The field of women's studies is based on the belief that centuries of domination of negative attitudes towards women - from various dimensions of human, family and social life and the existence of serious deprivations- has created an urgent need to address the issue of women in order to remedy this problem. Women's studies aim at educating experts, advisers and managers in various economic, cultural and social fields who can propose solutions for women's issues by creating a gender-balanced views at all levels of government and policy making.
To fulfill this purpose, according to the decision made in the 386th session of the Supreme Council of Planning held on 09/01/2000, the curriculum of the graduate student in the field of women's studies was approved and for the first time in Iran, three universities of Tarbiat Modares, Allameh Tabatabaee and Al-Zahra started offering graduate programs in two areas of women's rights in Islam and women and families with the admission of 24 students (6-12 and 6 respectively).
Also, the Council for Higher Education Planning in its 756th Session held on May, 1st, 2010 approved a doctoral program in the field of women's studies ' branch of women's rights in Islam.

bullet Objectives

  • Introducing the dignity and the role of women in the world from the point of view of Islam
  • Educating professionals for conducting research and education in women's affairs
  • Training experts for optimal policy-making at national levels
  • Strengthening scientific insights on women's issues in order to improve social and cultural attitudes

bullet The Role of the Department

  • Training experts in women's affairs to provide counseling at all executive levels of the country
  • Training experts to implement women's projects at all levels
  • Educating expert for policy-making and planning in women's affairs
  • Providing a general perspective of Islam's views about women at academic circles for the first time in Iran and the world

After the proposed curriculum of the graduate program in Women's Studies was reviewed in November 2008 by the specialized committee of the Deputy Minister of Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology, it was approved by the Supreme Council and communicated to the universities. The main outlines of which are as described below:

bullet Introduction

Today, women's rights are one of the basic issues in the legal and political communities of the world. The dilemma of women and family identity is one of the bitter events that severely has damaged the modern society. Since the most basic human needs are provided within the family, the prosperity and health of the society depend on the health and well-being of the women (the core of the creation and the cultivator of humanity). Paying attention to the status of women and the family is a very important task for all human societies. But the lack of spirituality and moral commitment and abandonment of human values and the absence of religious thought and divine law have created a deadlock and adversely affected the position of women and the family. Therefore, it is necessary to address the issues of women and the family based on the useful sciences and the rules and regulations of the Islamic religion. Moreover, it is necessary to introduce the topics of the day and theories of scientists in order to answer questions and doubts. The issue of "women's rights' not only is an agenda discussed in Islamic countries, but also is seriously discussed by scientific and research communities of non-Islamic countries. Therefore, it is imperative that this issue be considered seriously and its various dimensions examined. Therefore, scholars and thinkers, especially universities, should strive to consolidate the pillars of the family and provide sound and proper planning based on religious thought and national identity by resorting to experts in the field. The Special Committee appointed by the Deputy for Academic Affairs at the Ministry of Science, Research and Technology finally approved and outlined the master program for women's studies after months of scientific work and consultation in 1999.

bullet Significance

Family as the most important and most stable form of social group plays a significant role in society and its development. The exact recognition of the rights and responsibilities of the members of an Islamic family, in which women (as spouses and mothers) play a key role, is needed in order to take steps to educate future planners and policy makers to strengthen the position of women and the family. Therefore, the Special Committee set up to review women's studies curricula, approved two sub-disciplines: 1. women and families; 2. women's rights in Islam.

bullet Objectives

  • Understanding the views of Islam about women and family based on genuine sources to explain the foundations of religious thought and the legal system of Islam
  • Defending Islam against questions and doubts raised about women and family by referring to religious sources and science of the day
  • Promoting and developing research on women and family issues by means of conducting deep Islamic studies
  • Reviewing theories and schools
  • Producing localized science in the field of women's studies, promoting the status of women and family in society based on Islamic teachings
  • Constructing the ground for the training of theorists and committed experts for optimal policy-making at various levels of country planning

bullet Master Program Duration

The Women's Studies Program at master level lasts five academic terms.

bullet Doctoral Program Duration

This program lasts five years

bullet Qualifications required for admission in master program

Applicants for master program in women's studies should have the following conditions:

  • Passing the entrance examination and academic interview
  • Having a bachelor degree from national universities or its counterparts from foreign universities

Tarbiat Modares University offers master program in the field of women's studies - "women's rights in Islam".