"Traditional" Iranian Women: How They Cope

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Middle East Institute


The author introduces the article with a picture of a woman wearing a heavy black chador and carrying a muffled up baby, thus symbolizing the main roles of the traditional Iranian woman: bearing children and adhering strictly to religious law. Failing to perform this double duty means losing her status, prestige, political allies, the comfort of having intimate relations with children and their support in old age. The traditional Iranian woman also plays a social role. Through interaction with other women, she maintains political ties between her family and other families. Frequent visits, meetings, cooperation in housework and exchange of gifts help to maintain socio-political ties among families and allows them to arrange marriages and concern themselves with weddings, pregnancies and births.