Memos from Asia

Women’s Protests against Hijab in Iran

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In 1985, after the Islamic Revolution, it became mandatory for Iranian women to wear the hijab by law. They are required to dress according to Islamic instructions, regardless of their religion.

After 40 years of enforcing the hijab on women, Iranian women are now demanding the freedom to choose their clothes and claiming that the government has no authority to intervene in them.

In today’s world where social media has become the primary means of communication, it has become easier to disseminate opinions, and Iranian women are also beginning to share their opinions.

Iranian Women Against the Hijab

An Iranian woman named Masih AliNejad, a journalist and women’s rights activist in the United States, launched a campaign in 2017 to encourage women to protest and demand their right to a compulsory hijab called #whitewednesdays (she chose white because it is the color of peace).

The struggle against compulsory headscarves first made headlines in December 2017 when a woman climbed atop a utility box in Tehran’s Revolution Street, waving her hijab on a stick.

Movahed, 32, was dubbed the “Girl of Enghelab Street” and briefly arrested in 2017 after she took off her headscarf and held it in the air.

Video clips of the protest were widely shared on social media, and authorities briefly detained 29 women on similar charges the following year.

In 2019, following conferences and rallies in support of women’s protest movements in Iran, a group of women’s rights activists in Iran and some other Islamic countries proposed to the United Nations that December 27 be designated as World Day of ‘’NO TO COMPULSORY HIJAB’’.

These kinds of protests are moving the Iranian government gradually. They have recognized that they cannot force women as they had done in the past 40 years.

One day the traditional image of Iranian women wearing the hijab may change.

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