Feminists for Jina

History of Protest Against Compulsory Hijab in Iran

After the 1979 revolution in Iran, Khomeini ordered the repeal of the Family Protection Law as the first step to creating an Islamic state, accompanied by the whispers of compulsory hijab, and they clicked the first war on women and LGBTQIA+ people in Iran. On the 8th of March 1979, women organized massive demonstrations in many cities in Iran opposing the compulsory hijab mandate, which became the first public protest since the revolution, and made the state forces to retreat. Eventually, in June 1981, they enforced a compulsory hijab policy in the public sector, forcing all working women in the public sector to put on hijab or lose their jobs. Then, step by step, the government enforced the compulsory hijab in universities, schools and the private sector.

A few months after the revolution, they created different committees, mostly including religious paramilitary forces to observe and control women’s hijab and eventually, in 1983, in the midst of the Iran-Iraq war, they passed the first codified law of compulsory hijab established under the article 102 of Iran’s Islamic penal code.

It has been 43 years that the Islamic state has been trying to reinforce compulsory hijab in public spaces through every possible channel, including but not limited to violent forces on streets such as morality police and Basij (paramilitary) forces to propaganda programs in schools or on TV and Radio channels. However, in the past 43 years, women and LGBTQIA+ have resisted the compulsory hijab by all means possible; from individual resistance to arrests and normalized violence to reinforce hijab ad creatively altering hijab norms to collective protests on the streets in March 1979, daughters of revolution in 2017 and to the revolutionary fire that is burning the streets of Iran, today.

Since the murder of Jina (Mahsa) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, by the so-called morality police in Iran, mass protests have been happening all over the country, from Kurdistan to Tehran. Women are at the forefront of these protests, expressing their opposition to compulsory hijab by taking their headscarf off and waving it in the air, burning them or cutting their hair.

Woman, Life, Freedom


-1979 mass demonstrations against compulsory hijab in many cities

-1980 protest against compulsory hijab in front of the courthouse of Tehran

-In February 1994 painful Self-immolation of Homa Daraby to oppose compulsory hijab

-In December 2017, Vida Movahed opposed compulsory Hijab

-2017-2018 Daughters of Revolution