Sex segregation in Iran

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Sex-segregation in Iran has a long and complex history. Most areas of Iran are not segregated, including universities.

Reza Shah era[edit]

Reza Shah was against sex-segregation and he ordered Tehran University to enroll its first woman in 1936.[1][2] Reza Shah forcibly unveiled women and promoted their education in the model of Turkey's Atatürk.

After the Islamic Revolution[edit]

When Ruhollah Khomeini called for women to attend public demonstration and ignore the night curfew, millions of women who would otherwise not have dreamt of leaving their homes without their husbands' and fathers' permission or presence, took to the streets. Khomeini's call to rise up against Mohammad Reza Shah took away any doubt in the minds of many devoted Muslim women about the propriety of taking to the streets during the day or at night. After the Islamic revolution, however, Khomeini publicly announced his disapproval of mixing between the sexes.[3]

Khomeini favored single-sex schools in his speech at the anniversary of the birth of Fatimah bint Muhammad, saying:

As the religious leaders have influence and power in this country, they will not permit girls to study in the same school with boys. They will not permit women to teach at boys' schools. They will not permit men to teach at girls' schools. They will not allow corruption in this country.[4]

Sex segregation of public places such as beaches or swimming pools was ordered and legally introduced.

Dress code[edit]

Women wearing chador in Shiraz Bazar

After the revolution, Parliament made it compulsory for all women to observe the veil and for the first time rules prescribing the Hijab as proper attire for women were written into the law.[5]

According to the dress code, women’s clothing should meet the following conditions:

  • Women must cover their entire body except their faces and hands (from wrist to the base of the fingers).[6] Although in recent years many women wear colorful dresses in public.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Keddie, Nikki R. (2000). "Women in Iran Since 1979". Social Research 67 (2): 405–438. JSTOR 40971478. 
  2. ^ Price, Massoume (March 7, 2000). "A Brief History of Women's Movements in Iran 1850-2000". The Iranian. Retrieved September 21, 2008. 
  3. ^ Bahramitash, Roksana (2002). "Revolution, Islamization, and Women’s Employment in Iran". Brown J. World Aff. 9 (2): 229–241. ISSN 1080-0786. 
  4. ^ Imam Khomeini, "Speech number sixteen". Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, World Service. October 26, 1964. Retrieved 2007-12-05. 
  5. ^ راهبردهای گسترش فرهنگ عفاف
  6. ^ Wright, Robin (2000). The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran. New York: Knopf. p. 136. ISBN 0-375-40639-5. 

Further reading[edit]