Mehrangiz Dowlatshahi

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Mehrangiz Dowlatshahi
Mehrangiz Dolatshahi.jpg
Born 13 December 1919
Died 1 October 2008(2008-10-01) (aged 88)
Residence Paris
Nationality Iranian
Alma mater Berlin University
Heidelberg University
Occupation Diplomat, deputy
Years active 1940s – 2000s

Mehrangiz Dowlatshahi (13 December 1919 - October 2008) was an Iranian social activist and politician, who held significant positions, including ambassador of Iran and minister of women affairs, as the first woman during the Pahlavi era.

Early life and education[edit]

Dowlatshahi was born in Isfahan on 13 December 1919.[1] However, her family were major land owners based in Kermanshah.[2] She was a daughter of Mohammad Ali Mirza "Meshkout Al Dowleh", majlis member and land owner.[3][4] She was a member of the Qajar dynasty.[1] Her mother was Akhtar ol-Mulk, daughter of Hidayat Quli Khan.[1] Mehrangiz was the cousin of Esmat Dowlatshahi, fourth wife of Reza Shah.[5]

Mehrangiz studied in Germany and held a bachelor's degree from Berlin University.[1] She received a PhD in social and political sciences from Heidelberg University.[3]


Dowlatshahi worked at the social services organization and at the organization for support of prisoners.[6] She established Rah-e No (New Way) society, which later became part of the International Women’s Syndicate.[6] The society offered training to women and advocated equal rights for them.[3] She also launched adult literacy programs in southern Tehran.[6]In 1951, she and other woman activist Safeyeh Firouz met Mohammad Reza Shah to discuss the electoral rights of women in Iran.[7] She was the director of the advisory committee on International Affairs of the Women's Organization of Iran (WOI).[8] In 1973, she was appointed president of the International Council of Women and her term ended in 1976.[9]

She served as the member of the Majlis from 1963 to 1975, being the first woman in this post.[8] She represented Kermanshah at the Majlis for three terms.[10] She significantly contributed to the “family protection law” in 1967 and to its expansion in 1974.[10] She also served as the first minister of women affairs.[11] She was also the first woman ambassador of Imperial Iran to Denmark.[11] She was appointed to the post in 1975.[12]

Later years and death[edit]

Dowlatshahi was the Iranian ambassador in Denmark when the 1979 revolution occurred. She left the country and settled in Paris.[6] In 2002, she published a book entitled Society, Government, and Iran’s Women’s Movement.[6] She died in Paris in October 2008.[6]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1997, Dowlatshahi was named as the woman of the year by the Iranian Women's Studies Foundation in the United States.[13]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Qajar Dynasty (Dowlatshahi, Jalali)". Royal Ark. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Centers of Power in Iran". CIA. May 1972. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sex equality still elusive: feminist". The Age. 6 November 1973. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dolatshahi, Mehrangiz". Harvard University. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  5. ^ Camron Michael Amin (1 December 2002). The Making of the Modern Iranian Woman: Gender, State Policy, and Popular Culture, 1865-1946. University Press of Florida. p. 115. ISBN 978-0-8130-3126-2. Retrieved 5 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Kaviani, Nazy (28 October 2008). "Mehrangiz Dolatshahi". Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Ali Akbar Mahdi (October 2004). "The Iranian Women’s Movement: A Century Long Struggle". The Muslim World 94. Retrieved 7 December 2013. 
  8. ^ a b "Oral History interview of Mehrangiz Dowlatshahi". Foundation for Iranian Studies. Bethesda, MD, USA. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "About us". International Council of Women. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Mehrangiz Dolatshahi, who struggled for the ratification of the "Family Support Law" in 1967". The Feminist School. 23 October 2008. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Kadivar, Darius (6 September 2010). "Mehrangiz Dolatshahi First Woman Ambassador of Imperial Iran (1960)". Iranian. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Official Report of Debates. Volume II. Council of Europe. p. 681. GGKEY:49S8UY2XXFL. Retrieved 30 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "The Woman of the Year. Past awardees". IWSF. Retrieved 30 July 2013.