Migration from more traditional cultures to Western countries can provide women with an opportunity to re-define their gender roles and status, and gain more social freedom and visibility. It does not, however, guarantee that all women are able or willing to take advantage of these opportunities. Where there is a substantial difference in the relative status and differential treatment of females in the two cultures, women may still be the target of harsh criticism even from other women in their local Iranian community should they attempt to take advantage of the new opportunities available in the society of settlement, which might cause conflict with their heritage culture. Divorce and initiating divorce is one of these instances.
The present qualitative case study aims to explore changes in the gender identity of 10 first-generation female Iranian migrants in Brisbane, the capital of the state of Queensland, Australia. The primary objective of this study is to uncover the changes in women's gender identity that occur following migration. Second, it investigates the participants attitudes towards women's status in Iran and in the West and impact of this attitude on divorce. The findings of the study reveal that, while the participants were generally disapproving and very critical of the traditional view of women in Iran, they were not yet entirely accepting of all the different aspects of dominant gender roles and relationships in the West.
Although there were mixed views on gender roles in the family, the women in this study generally believed that women in Australia have more support from the government and family laws. They argued that this support gives women greater self- confidence and independence. There were, however, some women who believed this independence benefits women, but also can have a negative impact on the family unit.
The report will be published soon.