Hengameh Golestan was one of the pioneers of photography in Iran. Amongst many reports of protests, she earned the popularity with the one about the legislation of the 7th of March 1979: on that day women were imposed to wear the veil every time they would leave the walls of their houses. The new amendment was declared on the eve of the Women’s day.

Below: crowd of women

The pictures show the last day of the Iranian women moving freely without the hijab (veil). A huge group of people, during a pacific demonstration on the streets of Teheran. Most of the presents were women, coming from any profession and social class

There were 100,000 women who took to the streets of the capital, but their protest got suppressed with violence

From that day, regulations on what Iranian women are supposed to wear became increasingly more restrictive, sentencing to tragic punishments and absence of regard on norms.

Before the Revolution Iran was a free country, as the photographers from reports in the ’60 and ’70s show. The new regime though, with its tight reform, imposed a severe dress-code which restricted women’s freedom heavily. Besides garments, the government set up many other restrictions and all the pictures of women before the imposition of the veil got destroyed, with very few ones cheating death.

Golestan’s photographs represent an historical event that happens to be the division between the past and the last 50 years in the Middle East.

Still free to dress as they wish, yet to be disguised by the hijab, those women tried their best to fight off this imposition. Unfortunately what followed wasn’t what they were all hoping for and their protest appeared ineffective.

The pictures taken by Golestan got offered to several Iranian newspapers but none of them accepted to publish the report. From then, they made sporadic appearances on medias all over the world, reminding the 8th of March 1979 as

The Last day Without Veil in Iran

Below: a protester arguing with a man

Below: women chatting together. Two of them have already the hijab on

Below: a woman surrounded by men

Hengameh Golestan was born in 1952 in Iran and from the 1972 photograph and make reportages of her country

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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