Proposal Title

Social Media as an Apparatus for Accelerating Iranian women Empowerment

Start Date

June 2022

End Date

June 2022

Abstract

In Iran, where women's daily life is regulated by tradition, and religious ideology, usage of social media has its own locally specific trajectory, and Iranian women turn to it as a connected avenue of new emerging practices through which they can increase their social capital and respond to their agency.

Accordingly, this paper hypothesizes that social media that builds social capital for women can significantly contribute to their empowerment. I investigated women empowerment through three levels (personal, relational, and environmental).

The data of this study was collected from a survey among 415 Iranian women between 20-44 years who lived in Tehran and used Telegram and Instagram platforms. I investigated the role of social media in women empowerment through social capital, women empowerment, and digital feminism theoretical frameworks.

Research findings indicated that social media, which carries some intrinsic capabilities such as networking and exchange of information, brings about significant outcomes for women empowerment, including increasing the chance for self-employment, sharing knowledge and skills, expressing their ideas and views, and increasing gender self-consciousness and providing sites of identity negotiation.

Findings also showed a relatively solid and significant relationship between social capital as the main independent variable and empowerment as the dependent variable. According to the results, the correlation of social capital with personal empowerment was equal (0/57), with relational empowerment was (0/56), with environmental empowerment was (0/44), and with total empowerment was equal (0/55).

Bio

Niloofar is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Communication Studies and Media Arts at McMaster University. She is also doing a Graduate Diploma (Ph.D.) in the Department of Gender Studies and Feminist Research at McMaster University.

Niloofar holds a Ph.D. in Communication, an MA in Cultural Studies and the Media, and a BA in Social Communications from the University of Tehran. Her research interests include social media, digital activism, feminism, sexuality and the female body, focusing on Iran in the frameworks of critical, postcolonial, and feminist theories. Niloofar’s Ph.D. thesis project concentrates on the embodiment, performances of nudity and unveiling as political actions in Iran. She is also the bearer of an international award for research excellence (2020) granted by the Image Research Network. Recently, she has started working with Pulse Lab at McMaster University as a coordinator of Social Media and Activism Research Group (SMARG).

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Jun 25th, 3:00 PM Jun 25th, 4:30 PM

Social Media as an Apparatus for Accelerating Iranian women Empowerment

In Iran, where women's daily life is regulated by tradition, and religious ideology, usage of social media has its own locally specific trajectory, and Iranian women turn to it as a connected avenue of new emerging practices through which they can increase their social capital and respond to their agency.

Accordingly, this paper hypothesizes that social media that builds social capital for women can significantly contribute to their empowerment. I investigated women empowerment through three levels (personal, relational, and environmental).

The data of this study was collected from a survey among 415 Iranian women between 20-44 years who lived in Tehran and used Telegram and Instagram platforms. I investigated the role of social media in women empowerment through social capital, women empowerment, and digital feminism theoretical frameworks.

Research findings indicated that social media, which carries some intrinsic capabilities such as networking and exchange of information, brings about significant outcomes for women empowerment, including increasing the chance for self-employment, sharing knowledge and skills, expressing their ideas and views, and increasing gender self-consciousness and providing sites of identity negotiation.

Findings also showed a relatively solid and significant relationship between social capital as the main independent variable and empowerment as the dependent variable. According to the results, the correlation of social capital with personal empowerment was equal (0/57), with relational empowerment was (0/56), with environmental empowerment was (0/44), and with total empowerment was equal (0/55).