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Reconstructing the Society: Iranian Women's Movement
The NIEW Journal (2012)
  • Esmaeil Zeiny

The condition of women in Iran has been always a controversial issue, subject of much debate, commentary, reporting, and analysis. The Iranian women have traditionally been deprived of a myriad of their basic rights and have suffered from male centered ideologies and male authority that treat women as weak and irrational. The rampant discriminatory policies have also impacted negatively on their lives from the cradle to the grave. The perpetrators are by and large men, and women are always victims in such a patriarchal society. Victimizing women dates back to the pre-Islamic era in Iran as according to Will Durant (1935, p. 375), the status of women after Darius the Great (522-486 BCE) declined, particularly amongst the rich. Upper class women were not allowed to leave their homes whilst in the state of menstruation. These women could not venture out except on stretchers, covered from all four sides with curtains. They were not allowed to talk openly to any men, and it was prohibited for married women to see their nearest male relatives, like their fathers and brothers. There is not even a trace of women in inscriptions and monuments.

  • Iran,
  • women,
  • movement,
  • education,
  • patriarchy
Publication Date
December, 2012
Citation Information
Esmaeil Zeiny. "Reconstructing the Society: Iranian Women's Movement" The NIEW Journal 4 (2012): 125-137. Available at: