Insider

Your all-access pass to FP

Headscarves Are Not the Only Thing Women Are Protesting in Iran

Iranian women are highly educated but underemployed, driving frustration.

By , a deputy editor at Foreign Policy.
A demonstrator with an Iranian flag and red hands painted on her face attends a rally in Paris on Oct. 9 in support of the protests in Iran.
A demonstrator with an Iranian flag and red hands painted on her face attends a rally in Paris on Oct. 9 in support of the protests in Iran.
A demonstrator with an Iranian flag and red hands painted on her face attends a rally in Paris on Oct. 9 in support of the protests in Iran. JULIEN DE ROSA/AFP via Getty Images

The death last month of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman from the Kurdistan region of Iran who had been visiting the capital of Tehran, triggered a series of protests that now threaten the Iranian regime itself. Amini died after being arrested—and beaten, according to eyewitnesses—by Iran’s morality police for the apparent crime of not wearing a headscarf in sufficiently modest fashion. Young women have staged protests across the country, voicing their anger at the regime while also brazenly defying the country’s hijab laws, and the protests have expanded to include people from different walks of life. Iranian security forces have cracked down violently on the protesters, and the civilian death toll has risen to an estimated 201 people, according to the Norway-based Iran Human Rights organization.

Cameron Abadi is a deputy editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @CameronAbadi

Join the Conversation

Commenting on this and other recent articles is just one benefit of a Foreign Policy subscription.

Already a subscriber? .

Join the Conversation

Join the conversation on this and other recent Foreign Policy articles when you subscribe now.

Not your account?

Join the Conversation

Please follow our comment guidelines, stay on topic, and be civil, courteous, and respectful of others’ beliefs.

You are commenting as .

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows the Statue of Liberty holding a torch with other hands alongside hers as she lifts the flame, also resembling laurel, into place on the edge of the United Nations laurel logo.
An illustration shows the Statue of Liberty holding a torch with other hands alongside hers as she lifts the flame, also resembling laurel, into place on the edge of the United Nations laurel logo.

A New Multilateralism

How the United States can rejuvenate the global institutions it created.

A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.
A view from the cockpit shows backlit control panels and two pilots inside a KC-130J aerial refueler en route from Williamtown to Darwin as the sun sets on the horizon.

America Prepares for a Pacific War With China It Doesn’t Want

Embedded with U.S. forces in the Pacific, I saw the dilemmas of deterrence firsthand.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seen in a suit and tie and in profile, walks outside the venue at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind him is a sculptural tree in a larger planter that appears to be leaning away from him.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, seen in a suit and tie and in profile, walks outside the venue at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Behind him is a sculptural tree in a larger planter that appears to be leaning away from him.

The Endless Frustration of Chinese Diplomacy

Beijing’s representatives are always scared they could be the next to vanish.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan welcomes Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman during an official ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Ankara, on June 22, 2022.

The End of America’s Middle East

The region’s four major countries have all forfeited Washington’s trust.