Women constitute half of the population and their position is important in development process of the countries. Thus, improving women's status is a necessary condition for a sustainable development in every country. To reach this goal many efforts have been made to empower women throughout the world.
In Iran, during the last three decades, the status of women has considerably improved due to socio-economic development. Some improvements have taken place in favour of women at national and international levels which resulted in narrowing down the gap between men and women. Using the data from the country censuses (mainly from 1966 onwards) and other sources (mainly a survey on socio- economic characteristics of households in 2001), this paper aims to examine the improvements in women's lives compared to those for men. Findings show that improvements in women's status in terms of education, decision making in the family and health have been outstanding. But their situation in terms of social, cultural and economic
participation has not been improved remarkably. A steady improvement of women's status in public and private sphere is noticeable.
Some factors such as government policies towards development and population, changing Islamic laws, and willingness of women to enhance their situation are the main ones strengthening women's situation in the society.