Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, the Iranian government requires women to wear loose-fitting clothes as well as a headscarf that covers the hair.
“The Persian ladies’ hair is very luxuriant and never cut. It is nearly always dyed red, or with indigo to a blue-black tinge. It is naturally a glossy black. Fair hair is not esteemed. Blue eyes are not uncommon, but brown ones are the rule. A full moon face is much admired, and a dark complexion (termed Namak) is the native idea of the highest beauty. The eyebrows are widened and painted until they appear to meet, and the color is used freely in painting the faces.
The ordinary headscarf is called rusari in Persian. A type of head covering common among students and government employees is the maghnae The maghnae is a “wimple-like head covering”, that is “usually required on college campuses and at other public institutions” in Iran.
Women have consistently pushed boundaries of societal mores and were continually gaining more political and economic rights up to the Iranian Revolution. Women heavily participated at every level of the revolution; however, within months of the formation of the Islamic republic by Ruhollah Khomeini, many important rights were repealed. Almost immediately upon assumption of power by Khomeini, women protested the policies of the government.
In 2003, Shirin Ebadi, Iran’s first female judge in the Pahlavi era, won the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in promoting human rights.During the last few decades, Iranian women have had a significant presence in Iran’s scientific movement, art movement, literary new wave and the new wave of Iranian cinema. According to the research ministry of Iran, about 6% of full professors, 8% of associate professors, and 14% of assistant professors were women in the 1998–99 academic year. However, women accounted for 56% of all students in the natural sciences, including one in five Ph.D. students.In total 49,8% of the university students in Iran are women.
With the 2005 election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Western media claimed that women’s rights declined. However, after Ahmadinejad’s re-election in 2009, the first female minister was appointed
Following 1979 Iranian Revolution Iran became an Islamic Republic. During the era of post-Revolution rule, Iranian women have had more opportunities in some areas and more restrictions in others. One of the striking features of the revolution was the large scale participation of women from traditional backgrounds in demonstrations leading up to the overthrow of the monarchy. The Iranian women who had gained confidence and higher education under Pahlavi era participated in demonstrations against Shah to topple the monarchy. The culture of education for women was established by the time of revolution so that even after the revolution, large numbers of women entered the civil service and higher education, and in 1996 fourteen women were elected to the Islamic Consultative Assembly.