Women’s Roles and Images in Iranian Architectural Magazines (1946-2001)




Architectural Magazines, Iran, Women, Representation, Discourse


This paper examines the evolution of Iranian architectural magazines, focusing on discernible shifts in the involvement and portrayal of women during three distinct periods spanning from 1946 to 2001. From 1946 to 1969, female contributions to the magazines were markedly scarce initially, with depictions limited to non-progressive representations of women in traditional roles and endorsements directed towards the Queen. Along with the modern cultural initiatives of the Pahlavi state in the 1970s, the magazines transitioned from a prior disregard for female figures to occasionally recognising them as equally capable professionals. In contrast to this shift and the gradual growth in the number of educated and professional women before and after the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic embarked on a systematic effort to marginalise women and censor their images from public view. Challenging the post-revolutionary moments of limitation and censorship, few charismatic figures succeeded in redefining their roles and images in architectural magazines, especially after the revivals of 1991 and 1998 that were marked by the publication of two ground-breaking magazines. This study, supported by a comprehensive historical review, employs Theo van Leeuwen’s discourse analysis, revealing the intricate interplay of four discursive strategies in shaping women’s representation in Iranian architectural magazines across the three periods. The text underscores the impact of pre- and post-revolutionary societal and political changes. It highlights how the resilience of Iranian women led to an unprecedented redefinition of female professional roles in the 1990s.

Author Biography

Sina Zarei Hajiabadi, Chair of Architectural History and Curatorial Practice, Technical University of Munich, Germany

Sina Zarei Hajiabadi is a scholar with a master’s degree in the history of architecture. He is pursuing a PhD with a research focus on “The Meaning of Architecture in Persian Magazines of the 1990s. He has made notable academic contributions, including the upcoming book Descriptive Bibliography of Iranian Contemporary Architecture (awaiting publication in Iran), in which he co-authored and published a paper titled “Analysing Key Categories in the Literature of Contemporary Iranian Architecture.” Since October 2022, Sina has been supported by the Hanns Seidel Stiftung, a German institution dedicated to politically oriented research. Grounded in Discourse Theory, his research explores the intersection of architecture and text, aiming to uncover the discursive strategies that shape our understanding of architecture in the modern world.


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— Updated on 2024-03-30

How to Cite

Zarei Hajiabadi, S. (2024). SHATTERING THE GLASS CEILING: Women’s Roles and Images in Iranian Architectural Magazines (1946-2001). SPACE International Journal of Conference Proceedings , 4(1), 1–15.