Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. History Dept.




An Iranian women’s movement failed to materialize in the twentieth century. While women in Iran played important and essential roles in political and social movements, they never united with a single voice calling for women’s rights. Thus the activities of activist women were scattered through the decades of Iranian history, while their roles shifted and their goals evolved but they were involved. Women’s rights occupied moments. One of the most important moments for women in Iranian history came with their participation in the 1979 Revolution against the Shah. Mohammad Reza Shah was a complex ruler, embracing modernity and Westernization while also repressing democracy and free speech within Iran. He took a special interest in women and their rights, making some important reforms to the laws in favor of women. Why would Iranian women choose to overthrow this ruler who seemingly gave them more than others before or after him? This important question is the center of my research. In order to understand why women in 1977 until 1979 would protest, fight, and call out for the end of the Pahlavi era of modernization, one must understand how women perceived their place in society and politics as well as how they attained said position.


Women's rights, Iran, History Women, Iran, Social conditions, 1979 Revolution

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