1979: Women of the Iranian Revolution
The Iranian Revolution of 1979, also known as the Islamic Revolution, was a series of events that culminated in the overthrow of the Pahlavi dynasty under Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, and the replacement of his government with an Islamic republic under the rule of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
The establishment of an Islamic Republic severely impacted the lives of women in Iran. On 8 March 1979, a nationwide radio broadcast announced that women who worked in the public sector should wear a veil. Until then, it was not obligatory in Iran. Many women opposed Khomeini’s declaration but, as a result of government-led violence and oppression, it became the norm. Two years later, it became mandatory for women to wear a coat to cover the body and a scarf to cover the hair when they stepped out of the house; violation of this law was a punishable offence.
Of those who lived in Iran during the Revolution, resisted such invasive laws and were exiled or imprisoned as a result, three woman live to tell the tale. Shahin Navai, Diana Nammi and Nasrin Parvaz all fought for freedom, justice and equal rights in 1979 and continue to do so to this day.