A 40 years long dead end road: Iranian Woman after the ’79 Islamic Revolution

They were dreaming of freedom and individual fulfilment, but they soon found themself hidden under a Tschador or Hijab, and helplessly kept hostage in a regime of personal violence and political oppression.  40 years ago, at the decline of the Shah monarchy, the woman of Iran were fighting as their male comrades for democratic and liberal reforms.But hardly anybody had to pay a higher personal price for this engagement after the islamic regime of the mullahs conquered power.  Despite its autoritarian political regime, under Shah Reza Pahlevi they were encouraged to take a job, they could go out wearing lip gloss and make up, they could dress as woman like to dress anywhere in the world and could go swimming with their friends and relatives, wearing bikinis as would people do in Paris, Mailand, or Berlin.

Iranian students pictured in the Seventies

Iranian woman athlets in the 60s

Iranian basket ball athlets in the mid 60s. The regime of Shah Reza Pahlevi promoted a modern, western living style of woman.

But this period of personal freedom came to a immediate end: On march 7th Ayatollah Chomeini announced, that all woman have to cover their head in public. This old wannabe despote argued that woman should not be encouraged to go out and show up naked on the streets. This new law caused an uproar among the Iranian woman, mainly those of the urban society. On the following day, March 8th or the International day of Woman, tens of thousands from all political factions were out on the streets. Carried out by mothers, daughter and their grandmas, religious and non-religious people, this was the first stand up against the islamic regime.


Iran Frauenpower1979

Rebellion against the new islamic variant of indoctrination: The Iranian woman were the first who went out and demonstrated for freedom and civil rights after the new Chomeini regime tried to silence all political opponents in 1979. Foto: Bettmann/Getty Image

40 years later, all the dreams have gone in vain. The pursue for freedom is kept hidden under the omnipresent Tschador.


Spending most of their lifes under the chador. The daily problems of financial and material decline left no space for dreams of freedom and self determination.

And the woman of the younger generation can rarely imagine what their grand-mothers were demonstrating for on the roads and squares of Tehran some 40 years ago. For the students who grew up only under the mullahs-regime, freedom of expression and the pursue of self-determination bears the flavour of heresy.

Iranian Students 40 years after Islamic revolution---42522002_304

The young generation of woman dream of a little bid of “normal life”, i.e. less economic problems, but more financial security. Political or intellectual freedom has to come secondary.

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