Iranian-Australian women in diaspora: gendered and racialised discrimination and the implications for work and organisation
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 18:34 authored by Maryam Mathers
After the Islamic Revolution of Iran in 1979 many Iranian women departed Iran and became culturally displaced. This thesis investigates this diaspora of Iranian-Australian women who have migrated to Australia to explore the ways in which they manage and negotiate their differences as they attempt to assimilate, adapt and belong to a new country. Despite extensive multi-disciplinary studies of diasporic populations, this thesis is the first in the field of gender, work and organization to utilize a transnational feminist approach to analyse how gender, ethnicity, religion and nationality shape assimilation and belonging when living and working in Australia. Adopting a narrative based methodology and semi-structured interviews, the life stories of ten first and second generation Iranian-Australian women are collected and reveal many complexities surrounding diaspora. The research demonstrates that both first and second generation women reconstruct their identities to assimilate and belong, whilst dealing with gendered and racialized discrimination, particularly at work. Despite many shared experiences, first generation women face different challenges compared to second generation women due to their age, language and cultural and religious beliefs. This research lays a foundation for further research of Middle Eastern women in Australia, a context beset by increasing Islamophobia and the condemnation of multiculturalism and minority inclusion within a multicultural, Anglo-Celtic society. This thesis begins to decolonize essentialist knowledge production of marginalized Iranian-Australian women and starts a conversation around their constant struggle in addressing gendered and racialized discrimination at work and ongoing challenges for their careers.