Pre-Islamic, post-Islamic, and the modern era. Though little is known about Iran's pre-Islamic time, the recorded history starts with the Achaemenid Empire in B. During the rule of the Achaemenid Empire, Greek historical accounts include that women were able to participate in civic affairs; however, this participation was still limited and considered unusual to the general population. Greek historian, Herodotus , after his visit to the Achaemenian Empire, recounted that Persian men and women worked together in managing the affairs of the states and participated in public ceremony together.
During this era, elite women veiled themselves as a form of protection from non-elite men. They participated in large numbers in public affairs and held important positions in journalism and in schools and associations that flourished from to At the turn of the 20th century, many educated Persian women were attracted to journalism and writing.
Danesh was the first specialized journal focusing on women's issues. Although the defeat of the constitutionalists —25 and the consolidation of power by Reza Shah —41 destroyed the women's journals and groups, the state during these years implemented social reforms such as mass education and paid employment for women.
Reza Shah also began his controversial policy of Kashf-e-Hijab , which banned the wearing of the Islamic hijab in public.
But like other sectors of society in the years under Reza Shah's rule, women lost the right to express themselves, and dissent was repressed.
In the same year, he was declared the Shah of Iran, which marked the beginning of the Pahlavi era. In a speech he gave upon his return from Turkey, the former Shah of Iran said: The Shah's government began its White Revolution in and ratified essential women's rights measures, including suffrage and the Family Protection Law of It also raised the minimum age of marriage of girls from to Women in Iran Women and the Iranian Revolution[ edit ] When the Iranian Revolution started in , many women protested by marching in metropolitan cities and wore chadors as a sign of protest.
Women played a significant role in the success of the revolution. Men took the example of the women into the streets. Women encouraged the men to revolt, and sometimes even led the way. Woman is a wonderful creature. She possesses fiendish, strong [and] passionate capabilities.
Iranian women were able to turn into a revolutionary, political, conscious fighting element through their conscious faith Truly, women never lagged behind in any area or on any battleground.
Organizations supportive of the Islamic Revolution, such as Mujahidin , welcomed women into their organization and gave women essential tasks. Ayatollah Khomeini also encouraged women to take part in the protest against the Shah. Khomeini believed this to be the most vital role women could pursue.
It was this belief that led to the closing of women's centers, childcare centers and the abolishment of family planning initiatives. His election brought a period during which women became increasingly bold in expressing ideas, demands, and criticisms. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Shirin Ebadi , an Iranian human rights and women's right activist, further emboldened women's rights activists inside Iran and cemented their relationships with Iranian feminists abroad.
During the Sixth Parliament , some of Iran's strongest advocates of women's rights emerged. Almost all of the 11 female lawmakers of the at the time seat Majlis tried to change some of Iran's more conservative laws. However, during the elections for the Seventh Majlis , the all-male Council of Guardians banned the 11 women from running for office, and only conservative females were allowed to run. The Seventh Majlis reversed many of the laws passed by the reformist Sixth Majlis.
Abortion also became a right for women in cases such as rape. It was during this period that segregation laws were lifted and men and women were allowed to associate in public together. This enfranchisement came from the Prime Minister Asadollah Alam. Most revolutionary initiatives came with the White Revolution. A law was passed which gave women limited voting rights, allowing them the right to vote in local elections. Khomeini believed that such power for women was comparable to prostitution.
Though their votes did not count, the high number of women votes convinced Muhammad Reza Shah to grant women voting rights soon after the referendum. In September of the same year, , in the parliamentary elections, six women were elected to the parliament, and two women were appointed by the Shah to serve in the Senate.
Hijab Hijab is a veil worn by Muslim women when interacting with males outside of their immediate family. Before the rise of the Achaemenian empire, women were not forced to wear a veil. In , Reza Shah mandated that women should no longer be veiled in public. Women's dependency during this period grew as they relied on others to run errands.
The unveiling law did not last long. When Muhammad Reza rose to power, he abdicated this law, and the hijab became an individual decision. An entire chapter of Iranian penal code deals with punishments for extramarital sex. Another chapter details how such relations can be proved and verified in the court.
The law also gave the right to women to keep custody of their children. The temporary marriages, enacted by fatwa in under Khomeini, are heavily criticized as a form of legalized prostitution.
This is based on Article of the previous Civil Code that states: A man can divorce his wife whenever he wishes to do so. This also served as an amendment that made all private divorces illegal.
Article of the Civil Code gave the court more power to grant a judicial divorce requested by a woman as well as providing specific circumstances in which the wife can attain power of attorney and expedite the divorce process.
Iran follows strict Islamic laws. One of the civil laws that is recognized in Iran is the legal age of puberty. In Iran, children that reach the age of puberty also gain penal responsibility, meaning that once a child has surpassed the age of puberty, he or she is legally tried as an adult. This can be seen as disadvantageous towards women, as female children reach puberty around the age of ten and boys around the age of fourteen.
This means that girls as young as the age of ten can be prosecuted criminally. Punishments can vary from prison sentences to lashes and, rarely, the death penalty. Women continue to face mistreatment, especially by law enforcement officers.
An example of this would be the mass amount of violence against women during the Iranian presidential election , where many women were arrested for voting for Mir-Hossein Mousavi. I'll make it so you never want to leave your house again, so any time you hear my name, you will tremble.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the election by a landslide and, as a result, massive protests against this election occurred, saying that the election was a fraud. Ahmadinejad took office regardless.