January 13, 1956

SHAH’S REFORMS (II): Tehran, 12 – On January 7, Iran celebrated Women’s Day, established in 1935 by Reza Shah Pahlavi, founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, to help emancipate Persian women. Among the reforms he made was to inaugurate high schools for girls and set up small groups of female students at the universities. At the same time, the government has abolished most of the religious courts and drawn up a civil code giving women equal rights to men. On the basis of the new law, the wife has the right to seek a divorce in a civil court. As a result, Persian women now have their place in society. More than 30,000 girls attend Teheran high schools. Many women are doctors and nurses, and many others work in offices. It is no longer considered a disgrace for women to work as actresses. Persian women were not slow to imitate Europeans. Women in the royal court are the models of elegance. Empress Soraya and the Shah’s two sisters are living examples of this trend but also head philanthropic organizations and are patrons of the Red Cross, which in Persia is known as the Red Lion and Sun.

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