100,000 Iranian Women Protest Against The Hijab Law In 1979 Tehran (10 photos)


On March 8 1979, in Tehran 100,000 women marched in protest against new laws passed one day earlier that made wearing the hijab (veil) in public compulsory for all women.

The acclaimed Iranian photographer Hengameh Golestan, who between 1974 and 1984 documented the lives of women and children in Iran, presents her forthright visual series ‘Iranian Revolution’. Unable to show these images in her hometown of Tehran, Golestan’s photographs capture over 100,000 women who took to the streets to protest the compulsory hijab ruling in 1979.

“This was taken at the beginning of the demonstration. I was walking beside this group of women, who were talking and joking. Everyone was happy for me to take their picture. You can see in their faces they felt joyful and powerful. The Iranian revolution had taught us that if we wanted something, we should go out into the street and demand it… My first thought was: ‘It’s my responsibility to document this.’… I knew I had witnessed something historic. I was so proud of all the women. I wanted to show the best of us.”

“This turned out to be the last day women walked the streets of Tehran uncovered. It was our first disappointment with the new post-revolution rulers of Iran. We didn’t get the effect we had wanted. But when I look at this photo, I don’t just see the hijab looming over it. I see the women, the solidarity, the joy – and the strength we felt.” – Hengameh Golestan