Women and Rights

Gholam R. Afkhami

in The Life and Times of the Shah

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780520253285
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520942165 | DOI:
Women and Rights

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The “woman question” in Iran was only sporadically touched on in the nineteenth century. Patriarchy dictated the norms by which woman lived, and the clerics, managing education, justice, and culture, dictated the content and form the norms took. Women were led to defend themselves using the two main weapons available to them: motherhood and sex. Under Reza Shah, the first Pahlavi king, the nation set out to modernize, but the process left family law largely undisturbed. Reza Shah used the historical need for progress to open education to women, but he did not relish the prospects of his wife and daughters appearing unveiled in public. He sent his sons to Europe to study, but he would not countenance the same for his daughter, Ashraf. Women continued to have a hard time, though in the fifty years of the Pahlavis they made considerable progress against considerable odds.

Keywords: Reza Shah; modernization; sex; motherhood; Pahlavis; Islam; patriarchy

Chapter.  11442 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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