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Women protesting forced hijab days after the Iranian Revolution, 1979

 

On 8 March 1979, more than 100,000 women gathered on the streets of the Iranian capital to protest the new Islamic government's mandatory hijab regime, which meant that women would now be required to wear headscarves when away from home.

The protest was held on International Women's Day, and images show women from all walks of life - nurses, students, mothers - marching, smiling, taking up arms in protest.

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini severely curtailed the rights that women under the Shah had become accustomed to. Within months of the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the 1967 Family Protection Act was repealed.

Women government employees were forced to follow the Islamic dress code; Women were barred from becoming judges; Beaches and sports were separated by sex; The legal age of marriage for girls was reduced to 9 (later raised to 13); And married women were barred from attending regular schools.

Almost immediately women opposed these policies. The Islamic Revolution is ideologically committed to inequality for women in other areas of heritage and civil code; and particularly committed to the separation of the sexes. In many places, "from school rooms to ski slopes to public buses" is strictly segregated.


Today the hijab in Iran includes the option of a chadar or rooposh and a veil. Chadar is an extremely modest, usually black or dark colored garment that covers the top of a woman's head and covers her body loosely to her feet.

Rooposh or Mantu is a long top similar to a trench coat. "The dress must be appropriate according to the Islamic custom of the hijab (veil): women are not required to wear the veil in front of mahram relatives such as husband, father, son, brother, but need to be "submissive" if they are not- Maharam is likely to be seen by men".

"Bad hijab" - if it comes into contact with any part of the body other than the hands and face - can be punished with up to 70 whippings or up to 60 days' imprisonment.



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