thousands of women in the street

Photo Of The Day

© Hengameh Golestan. Who speaks up for such women now? No one. But who speaks up for their oppressors? Many, many people.

© Hengameh Golestan.
Who speaks up for such women now? No one. But who speaks up for their oppressors? Many, many people.

The Day 100,000 Iranian Women Protested The Headscarf

Who spoke up for these women? No-one. Where are they now?

Those who are still alive are all wearing the hijab, unless they were able to escape from Iran.

Who speaks up for such women now? 

When 34-year-old photographer Azadeh Fatehrad first laid eyes on an image by Hengameh Golestan, of women protesting in the streets of Tehran in 1979, she was struck immediately — it was unlike anything she had seen before.

Born in 1981 in Iran, Fatehrad had learned in school that women made a smooth transition to Islamic rules imposed after the 1979 Revolution — in particular adopting a compulsory dress code, the hijab. But Golestan’s image told a different story: thousands of women in the street, protesting the announcement that the headwear would be mandatory.

“I couldn’t believe that photo was taken in Iran — I was completely surprised,” Fatehrad said. She describes this kind of historical record as “inaccessible” in Iran.

Golestan, now 64, a pioneer of Iranian photojournalism, remembers the day of the protest well. “The atmosphere was very joyful,” she recalls, on the phone from London, where she has lived for three decades. “Women went on strike that day, because the night before they had announced in the papers that women should wear scarves when they went to work. So nobody went to work, they all went on strike, came to the streets and from early morning they began to march from the Tehran University.”

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