Women’s Rights in Iran


My broadside, entitled Women’s Rights in Iran, is meant to call attention to the feminist movement within the anti-feminist regime of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The print depicts two female figures holding a protest poster. These figures have no faces, rather, they illustrate the spirit of Iranian women. Both figures are submerged in the Islamic dress code, symbolizing the Islamization of laws and institutions bought about by the Revolution of 1979, which among many other things, led to authorities imposing a compulsory dress code on women violating their basic freedom to express themselves. The figures are printed in black to emphasize the phycological and social effect the Islamization of laws had on these women. The new theocracy systematically rolled back five decades of progress in women's rights, stripping away their individual and independent identities until they form a collective of silent, ominous, black chador-clad women.

In creating this broadside I hope to encourage the viewer to consider not only the condition of women within The Islamic Republic of Iran, but, more importantly, shed light on a movement preoccupied with the west’s pre-conceptions of Iranian women. Although the Revolution of 1979 brought about negative cultural changes for women, it also served to emphasize that Iranian women are catalysts for political change as they carry on to mobilized against the Islamization of laws and institutions to break away from the stereotypical image of Iranian women.


The main image on my broadside was made using cut vinyl. I used an x-acto knife to carve out my image of the two female figures, and poster board. A lot of my research is concentrated with Iranian women perceiving themselves as individuals with independent identities – however, I felt some sort of unease drawing two faces and having these be the face of the movement as I thought It would generalize or even suggest that these where the only faces of the movement. Throughout the semester we have been taught by the work of other book artists that there isn’t a singular image, or in this case, women, which can serve as the face of an issue – mainly as it isn’t reflective of the population it reflects.  Considering this, I decided to move the focus of my image to the traditional Islamic dress code; following the 1979 revolution new laws were passed western clothing and requiring that women remain completely covered by a traditional Islamic hihab in public at all times.

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I decided to combine type, typography, through the expression of protesting. To do so I decided I should layer prints – create poster template to print onto my paper, followed by the image of the two women, and then text on top of the poster.  I chose the words “THE REVOLUTION ROLLED BACK  FIVE DECADES OF PROGRESS IN WOMENS RIGHTS, BUT THIS ONLY MADE WOMEN WORK HARDER TO REGAIN THEIR RIGHTS AND PROVE THEMSELVES.” I chose to make the text white to stand out sharply against the black print. Furthermore, I thought limiting my pallet to black and white would emphasize The new theocracy’s negative cultural changes due to them seeing everything in black and white. I chose the font Weiss (14pt) because it looked clear to read, and similar to fonts used in official legal documents. I printed my text in uppercase to further emphasize the message similarly to that of a protest poster.

My piece was inspired by my Iranian heritage. I come for an Iranian family, who following the revolution, had to leave the country due to my grandfather’s appointment as senator of Tehran, following which he was appointed as Minister of Health. Since 1979 my family have remained outside of the country until my uncle and his family moved back for a period of time. My uncle has three children, all female, all of a similar age to me; thus, are subjugated to these laws which their parents weren’t even forced into. Globally we see the women’s movement in various country’s building momentum, empowering women, and making change. All I hope is that someday this is the case for the dedicated women of Iran.

-Allegra Moghtader-Mojdehi, Scripps ’20

Women’s Rights in Iran