Volume 17, Issue 65 (7-2017)                   2017, 17(65): 103-136 | Back to browse issues page

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Amadnia S, Ghlibaf kamel A. Women-Headed Households in Tehran: A Qualitative Study of Their Experiences, Challenges and Capacities. Social Welfare. 2017; 17 (65) :103-136
URL: http://refahj.uswr.ac.ir/article-1-2982-en.html
Abstract:   (1262 Views)
Introduction: Increasing number of woman-headed households has made it an indispensable issue particularly for Iranian families. Focusing on the women who have become heads of households due to either death of their husbands or divorce, this study seeks to examine the lived experiences, affections, and the difficulties  this group of women deal with in terms of  remarriage, well-being and occupation .
Method: This was a qualitative research based on a case study. Along with an archival study, semi-structured interviews were conducted as a means of data gathering. This research was conducted on the basis of interviews with an accessible sample of 30 women in Tehran from 27 to 63 years old. According to the purposeful sampling and qualitative method requirements, the findings cannot be generalized to other groups of woman-headed households.  
Findings: Although being the responsible for the family increases the level of stress and anxiety of the women, by accepting this responsibility their self-confidence increases. In the course of time, this group of women become more optimistic in regard to themselves and their abilities. Considering the patterns of women-headed household employment is the distinction between this research and other related researches which only focused on binary of employed/unemployed women. Gender beliefs which consider female employment a choice in contrast to male employment, does not have the same effect on the employment of all women. Here, attention should be paid to the intersection of gender and social class. In the sample population of this study, discontinuous employment is a common pattern among women of the lower class, and permanent employment or lack of employment is a common pattern among middle and upper middle-class women. Moreover, the approach of women reposible for their family regardless of their social class to remarriage was negative. Therefore, it can be concluded that living without a male guardian has some advantages or at least living with a male guardian has some weaknesses and is a source of fear for women. The role of domestic violence against women and the lack of serious support for abused women should be taken seriously. The fears of these women are the loss of freedom and re-engagement in unhealthy family relationships that are difficult to get out of.
Discussion:  The concept of ‘women-headed household’ is constituted within a hierarchical understanding of a normative family in which men are considered as breadwinners.  Women  as a head of household are seen as an exception which needs to be studied.   The dominant pattern of policy-making in terms of female employment is subordinated to the image of men as breadwinners.
However, the women-headed households, both in Iran and in the world, are increasing and the changes in the institution of the family have had a great influence on this increase, including the fact that in Iran gradually the first marriage happens later, the household size is reduced and the probability of divorce has increased, women’s education has increased, and the participation rate of married women in the labor market is increasing.
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Type of Study: orginal |
Received: 2017/12/27 | Accepted: 2017/12/27 | Published: 2017/12/27

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