Masses of Iranian women, many of them “traditional,” relatively uneducated and from the lower classes, were politically quite active in the Iranian revolution. Many observers assume this to be without precedent. There is, however, a tradition of political participation and struggle in community politics by women, as the case of the village of Aliabad illustrates. Women’s activities, roles and characteristics in local politics were similar to those they exhibited in the Iranian revolution. These village women were not radically departing from their usual behavior by supporting the revolution and joining marches in the nearby city of Shiraz. Nor did their participation in the revolution modify their roles or perceived political passivity in subsequent community struggles. Before, during and after the revolution, women’s political roles in Aliabad changed little. Women continued to struggle against oppression and injustice and to defend family members and interests. They maintained female bonding and support groups. Women visited, demonstrated compassion for each other, sheltered and trusted each other, and developed leadership among themselves. Expressive forms of political awareness and action persisted: exchange of news, intrigue, manipulation of accessible males, screaming, ululation, cursing and public demonstration of support and protest. At the same time, parameters of appropriate conduct remained in force: women were largely restricted to mourning, religious and kin activities, and were required to be veiled and chaperoned, to place primacy on household duties, and to engage in public action by male permission only.

Political conditions and class standing influence the level of women’s participation in politics. Before the 1962 land reform in the southwestern province of Fars, Aliabad was owned by the powerful, large landowning Qavam family. Since their takeover of the village, probably in the latter part of the last century, the Qavams allowed the victors of political competition in Aliabad to be their representatives and to provide political leadership. This policy encouraged factional struggle, in which the participation of women was highly significant. Social interaction was central in maintaining political ties, and women were largely responsible for social relations.

The land reform of 1962 brought increasing centralization and consolidation of the state at the local level. This hindered local political competition, and the political activity of village women declined drastically. It was not until the loosening of controls during the revolutionary period of 1978-1979 that women regained more significant political involvement.

Class affiliation influenced the level of political activism. Before land reform, the men of Aliabad had been divided rather evenly between farming and trading. [1] The womenfolk of the traders — who were often sayyids (descendants of the Prophet through the male line) — were much more active than the womenfolk of the peasants. Peasant men worked their land as individuals or in cooperation with only one or two others, perhaps sons. They were primarily occupied with extracting a living and not with gathering a political following.

Peasant women were busy with chores; they usually did not have servants and did not possess the means to entertain. They interacted with fewer other women, usually visiting in small groups. They were not encouraged to participate in “religious” activities, as were the womenfolk of the more ritually active traders and sayyids. Possessing means, household assistance, leisure time and social approval, trading women engaged in intensive social interaction with other women. In the frequent absences of their husbands, they carried on business with trading partners and customers. The experience, respect and resources they gained through women’s networks and trading equipped them for political roles. They maintained political alliances through intense social interaction. Because of the frequent absences of the men, and their preoccupation with economic pursuits, women were left with much of the responsibility for managing social/political relations in the village.

Social setting also influenced political involvement. Rural business was done in the home or in nearby shops. Urban shops, by contrast, were generally far from homes. Urban tradesmen could more easily keep their womenfolk apart from business and political matters, and so they were not as politically active as the womenfolk of Aliabad traders.

Women in Community Politics

Aliabad was a regional political and trading center, and this contributed to women’s activity. When I lived there in 1978-79, the community numbered some 3,000. There were many jobs in the provincial capital of Shiraz, a half hour away. Aliabad was fast turning into a bedroom community. The village boss and main local government official, Sayyid Yakub Askari, served merely to keep order and administer central government benefits and sanctions. A gendarmerie station three kilometers away helped prevent any meaningful local political activity or competition.

Before the centralization of government power of the last several decades, Aliabad’s political leader had been “a little shah” for the entire area. Political power coincided with prosperity in trade; only the use of force and connections could protect trade. Aliabad men were merchants, caravan owners and directors, and itinerant traders and shopkeepers who distributed foreign and government monopoly goods and collected native produce for urban consumption and export. Prosperous traders competed for the position of village head. A large part of the factional work fell to women, notably communication, emotional displays, social interaction, provision of food and hospitality, physical presence and serving as objects of attack.

Womenfolk of the trading and political elite were highly adept at collecting and disseminating information. [2] Men were often absent or scattered, and relatively constrained in communication. Women’s interaction was relatively informal, spontaneous and uninhibited. They could comfortably and frequently stop in at a neighbor’s, whereas a man’s visit required more formal reception. With their skill at teasing out answers and fewer requirements for dignified behavior, women had easy access to information. They quizzed children and visitors and were gifted at compiling a detailed understanding of events which had happened out of their sight. They could continue to interact when it was judged too dangerous for men to appear in public. Women were usually immune from harm; they themselves often disclaimed political involvement. As Esmat Ajami, a supporter of Ayatollah Khomeini, put it:

Ehteram and Sakineh come to the rozeh [recitation of religious stories of martyrdom]. They are for Sayyid Ibn Ali and they know I’m not. We don’t say anything. We just act polite. I talk in such a way so as not to confront them. I don’t curse Sayyid Ibn Ali in front of Ehteram and Sakineh. When they see I don’t curse Sayyid Ibn Ali, they don’t curse my family — like Hamdula — in front of me. We mainly avoid the subject. Or I say, “What does the fighting, the cutting off of relations, the making up of men have to do with women? What do women have to do with this?” Then they agree with me. Or I say, “I’m not involved with this. I’m not on one side or another.”

Women could act as spies, going from one house to another to elicit information. During serious conflict, mourning ceremonies for men were canceled and the public bathhouse was closed during the men’s hours. But women’s meetings continued, and conversation centered on the current conflict.

Women attempted to persuade others to join a particular faction. They argued with fathers, husbands, brothers or sons. They verbally confronted men and women of an opposing faction, jeering, shouting insults and cursing liberally. Through emotional displays, women boasted, condemned, aroused sentiment, inflamed others and swayed public opinion. Women ululated to show victory and strength. They screamed, wept, tore their hair, and beat their chests in outrage and grief; they fainted or complained of high blood pressure during violent confrontations. In cases of serious injury, they rushed to the affected courtyard in larger numbers, stayed longer and lamented with greater passion than men. Women were considered more sympathetic and compassionate than men. Women occasionally entered a fray on an individual basis with another woman rather than in groups.

Crucial Activity

Men and women alike recognized that “women hold relatives together.” In a situation where political alliance was demonstrated and maintained through social interaction — visiting and hosting (raft o amad) — the activity of women was crucial to the political system. But neither men nor women commented on the political significance of women’s social activities.

Women retained close relations with their own families, providing choice of alliance to men through kinship ties and a means of changing sides. Women reduced interaction with women from opposing factions during tense periods, but kept channels of communication open and eased the process of rapprochement. [3]

Maintaining social/political relations brought with it the heavy burden of providing food and hospitality. Often in groups, women prepared food for life-cycle events, religious feasts and political gatherings.

The physical presence and involvement of women was also significant in the political process. Their wholehearted participation in peaceful or threatening factional gatherings demonstrated numbers, strength, unity and determination. Their enthusiastic and noisy ululating, dancing and singing of ditties and risque songs at weddings demonstrated factional solidarity. Likewise, a large and sorrowful group of female mourners testified to respectable social standing.

In case of an attack against a member of a faction or kinship group (taifeh), women attended the “entrenchment” (sangar) at the home of the political leader, along with men. [4] Women might rush to a home upon hearing of an incident of violence without consulting husbands, or even in knowledge of their disapproval. Especially in the absence of men, women’s attendance showed the support of their husbands and households. A leader’s decision to escalate conflict or to accept the services of peacemakers depended in part on the number of women attending, and how incensed they were about the injury or offense.

Men took advantage of women’s purported immunity, non-involvement and passivity by using them as messengers, spies, agents and suppliers. Any real or alleged attack against women or their modesty then became an ingredient in the conflict, useful propaganda to turn public opinion against the other faction. Actual attacks against women were quite rare. Women involved with factions did not sit in their alleyways or visit relatives in the neighborhoods of opposing factions during times of confrontation. A woman living in a neighborhood heavily populated with members of an opposing faction might stay with a daughter elsewhere during the height of conflict.

Womenfolk of the traders and political elites were exposed to the wider world through trade and intensive involvement in women’s networks, encouraging their self-confidence, verbal ability and general competence. Traders often had guests from outside the village and also possessed the means to provide hospitality to other villagers. Women were usually present to listen and take part in conversations. Men developed regular trading associates who would soon be received into the home almost as a relative. Women could interact quite freely with them even in the absence of their husbands.

Trader’s Wives

Although peasant women did not work in agriculture in Aliabad, the wives of traders were of great assistance to their husbands. Because shops were in or near the home, wives could tend to children and households while still managing the erratic and flexible demands of customers when their husbands went on buying trips to Shiraz or handled other business outside the village. The wives of wholesale traders operating out of their own homes were knowledgeable enough to manage the business during their husbands’ frequent trips to outlying areas to buy grains, tea, opium, firearms and contraband. Trading called for working together and discussion. Much interaction took place between women and their husbands and other males. The wives of traders exhibited an air of confidence and competence and appeared to be respected by their husbands. The wives of traders were intensely active in women’s groups and networks. The more intense the social interaction and the closer the relationship, the greater was the obligation to show support in political struggles. Men therefore encouraged their wives to lead active social lives with the womenfolk of their political allies. Women kept track of the complicated round of social occasions and the great variety of social obligations. Women’s participation in ritual and religious events also reflected positively on the prestige and religious credentials of husbands. [5] Women developed verbal and managerial skills, self-confidence, and psychological independence from men through their independent social activities with women and administration of social life. [6]

Political activities of women as understood in Aliabad tradition had several characteristics:

  • Women’s activism focused on important problems and valued areas of life. Their activity did not contravene expectations about their behavior. Their involvement seemed proportional to the seriousness and importance of a situation.
  • Women’s participation was informal and spontaneous. It did not prevent tending to children, husbands and households. In fact, their involvement was often expressed through domestic and kinship responsibilities.
  • Their political activities did not bring them into improper contact with men. Any cooperation was with other women or men relatives. Women did not come into direct, physical conflict with men from opposing factions.
  • Even if sometimes self-initiated and self-organized or unique, women’s roles were perceived to be secondary to men’s. Neither men nor women seemed to recognize the extent of their influence in managing social relations and swaying sentiment.

Women’s political activities were at their highest during the factional competition encouraged by the Qavams before land reform in 1962. Womenfolk of the political/trading elites managed large households with many guests and gatherings, and directed the activities of servants and underlings. Seven-day wedding celebrations, a month or two of hosting religious mourning troupes and other guests, and preparing sweetbread for the entire village for New Year’s challenged their administrative and social skills. Intrigue, changing alliances and conflict utilized their expertise in communication.

After 1962, the demise of local and regional centers of political power did away with meaningful political competition. Villagers could no longer turn against a local leader who had become too corrupt and tyrannical or who served the interests of too few villagers. Local politicians served as the arm of the central government and were not susceptible to local opinion. Factional mobilization was senseless; the village boss, Sayyid Yakub Askari, would immediately call upon the gendarmerie to settle any “trouble.”

Factional politics declined drastically. It seems that not one case of “entrenchment” took place between the mid-1960s and the revolutionary period of 1978-1979. Social and religious gatherings were far less frequent and elaborate. Political relations with other regional leaders declined. Now the most frequent guests in Sayyid Yakub’s home were the captain and others from the nearby gendarme station. Under these conditions, neither women nor men had much opportunity for overt political activity.

In The Revolution

Not until the revolutionary ferment of 1978-1979 did Aliabad women once again play significant political roles. By late fall of 1978, a number of Aliabad women were committed supporters of the revolutionary movement. Twenty to 30 women from the upper neighborhood of the village were relatives of men who had supported Prime Minister Muhammad Mossadeq in the 1950s. These women, many of them high school students in Shiraz, cited Shi‘i Islam in arguing for mass political participation in the post-revolutionary society. Twenty to 30 women from the Lower Neighborhood were relatives of traders and influenced in their support of the revolution by the bazaar and clergy in Shiraz. Both groups of women took part in revolutionary marches in Shiraz. Many other women in Aliabad turned against the Pahlavi regime and its village representatives, the Askaris. Although not active in demonstrations themselves, these women agreed with the supportive stances of their menfolk. All were greatly affected by two incidents in Aliabad toward the end of 1978.

On December 7, 1978, truckloads of gendarmes, helicopters and villagers led by Sayyid Yakub attacked a convoy of clergy, religious students and others traveling from Shiraz to a mourning ceremony for a martyr further up the valley. Watching from rooftops, women screamed and wept, tore their hair, and beat their chests at this violence against mourners and clergy. Some had sons or brothers in the convoy. Even Sayyid Yakub’s relatives turned against him; his wife and daughter scolded him and his grandniece screamed at him in his own courtyard at one point while he maintained a sheepish silence.

The next evening, while leading a mourning ritual in demonstration against the previous day’s violence, Cyrus, a young partisan of Khomeini and a village favorite, was stabbed by his monarchist brother-in-law, Mehdi. Mehdi pretended his attack was prompted by loyalty to the Shah. But the whole village knew he was furious over Cyrus’s refusal to return his young sister, Mehdi’s wife Goltaj, to him. Dissatisfied with his wife, Mehdi had returned Goltaj to her father’s home several times, sending his mother to fetch her when he wanted her back. Cyrus now insisted Mehdi must come after Goltaj himself and seriously discuss the matter. Mehdi had refused. Immediately upon hearing of the violence, women streamed into Cyrus’s courtyard, screaming and lamenting in sorrow and outrage. More women than men came and their grief was more violently expressed. The victim was unconscious and the outcome uncertain. Village opinion turned against the Askaris.

Several hundred village men went to Shiraz for the Tasu‘a and Ashura marches on December 10 and 11, 1978. This marked the turning point of the revolution. Only a few of the high school girls from the upper neighborhood took part. One of them returned to the village with her father and brothers in the large group of men. Other women commented negatively on her immodest behavior. The trading womenfolk from the lower neighborhood felt that marching was not appropriate for women. But in early January, women rather than men initiated demonstrations. January 5, 1979 was declared a day of mourning for those killed in earlier demonstrations. While chatting in their alleyway, some sayyid women decided they should demonstrate just as the women in Shiraz were doing. “Are Shiraz women better than we are?” they asked.

The first evening the women merely stood out in their alleyways and shouted revolutionary and religious slogans. Almost immediately, men took over direction of the nightly demonstrations. First, the teenage sons of the women assembled the nightly group by shouting slogans. Boys and a few men led the demonstration, shouting the first verse of a couplet answered by the group of women coming along in the rear. More men joined the group on successive evenings and took over organization of the procession.

After demonstrating in Aliabad, 20 to 30 lower neighborhood women began traveling into Shiraz to march when they could leave their household tasks. But on February 11, the day the Bakhtiar government fell, men did not allow the women congregated in front of the village to go into Shiraz, even to search for brothers and sons, because of the violent confrontations between government forces and the people. [7]

The activities of Aliabad women in the revolution were similar in character to their activities in earlier local-level political conflict. First, their participation was valued and encouraged, and demonstrated seriousness of intent. Village men approved of their wives’ involvement, sometimes traveling into Shiraz with them before separating to march with their own gender.

Second, women’s activities were spontaneous, informal and sporadic, subject to other responsibilities. Third, this involvement did not bring women into improper contact with men. Trading information and advocacy took place among other women and regular male associates of the household. During demonstrations in Shiraz and Aliabad, women were segregated, covered with the chador. They marched with their usual companions, rather than as individuals as men might do.

Fourth, although often comprising an equal number of marchers, women’s involvement was secondary and supportive of the men’s. Their presence was with male approval, even behest, and under male direction. Although women themselves may have made the decision to take part, they did not violate social sanctions to do so.

Demonstrations were placed in a mourning and religious framework, traditionally legitimate activities for women of the trading and sayyid group. [8] What was new was that this political involvement of Aliabad women concerned Shiraz and national-level politics, not primarily local politics. Aliabad women had not traveled to Shiraz to demonstrate during the Mossadeq period in the 1950s, in spite of the heavy participation of village men. Now many women went into Shiraz regularly. Older women from lesser status families could take public transportation without escorts for shopping, visiting or making pilgrimages to Shiraz shrines. Younger women required a male relative or other women for company. Shiraz was now part of the daily life of many village women. At least ten young Aliabad women lived in Shiraz while attending high school. Others stayed with relatives for extended periods. Most men worked outside of the village; they brought the outside world to women in the village through their discussions. Community-level factionalism and violence in which women traditionally played a part merged with national politics. This convergence was especially apparent when the village events of December 7 and 8, 1978, made the rule of the Askaris and the Pahlavis intolerable to men and women alike.

Community Roles

When women take part in a revolutionary movement, what effect will this activism have on their subsequent status and roles? Following the revolution, villagers gradually became aware of the lack of support from the gendarmes and government offices for the Askaris. No moves were made immediately against the Askaris. Sayyid Muslem, Sayyid Yakub’s son, had been a main revolutionary organizer, so most villagers assumed that the new government would continue to protect Askari interests.

Opponents of the Askaris urged government officials to redistribute land taken by the Askaris and to imprison the family head, Sayyid Ibn Ali Askari, who lived in Shiraz. Villagers gradually realized Sayyid Yakub’s lack of support in the village or from the government. Gendarmes had not appeared in the village for months; no center of authority had emerged in Shiraz.

No one visited Sayyid Yakub for the Iranian New Year, that March, for the customary demonstration of fealty. On May 14, a young man from the Reza’i family, enemies of the Askaris because of their loss during land reform, wounded Sayyid Yakub’s son, Sayyid Muslem. Only a few close relatives went to Sayyid Muslem’s home to indicate alliance. The poor show of support presented great contrast to the crowd of wailing women who had rushed to Cyrus’s courtyard after he was knifed.

In the following months, women communicated and criticized but did not take part in the conflict in unusual ways. No women accompanied the angry crowd of several hundred Aliabad men who demonstrated for the arrest of Sayyid Ibn Ali on October 6, 1979. Although village women had gone to Shiraz to participate in “religious” and revolutionary marches, apparently there was no carryover into the area of village politics. Female relatives of Sayyid Ibn Ali ululated in triumph as part of the noisy caravan of vehicles returning him to the village upon his release from prison on October 10. No women were present the next day with several hundred men shouting chants in front of the provincial governor’s office to protest Sayyid Ibn Ali’s release. Only married men registered to receive land from the planned takeover of Sayyid Ibn Ali’s village property. Women were not a part of the jubilant crowd marching to seize and cultivate this land on November 2, 1979. It was not considered proper for women to walk in cultivated areas or to engage in activities related to agriculture.

When several hundred men marched out of the village on November 16 to clean the several kilometers of irrigation ditch and present a show of political strength, there was no thought of including women in this outing, as previously they had not played a part in irrigation procedures. When the men became aware of plans for an Askari-sponsored ambush, they returned infuriated to march and shout slogans against the Askaris within the village itself. When the men reached the Askari courtyard, women participated in the ensuing confrontation.

Three wives of Askari men stood in the alleyway shouting curses at the furious marchers, who were still armed with picks and shovels for cleaning out the irrigation ditch. The Askaris were hoping to provoke an attack on their women, so they could then bring a complaint to the authorities. Other Askari women screamed curses from their own courtyards. Women from both sides joined in the melee with curses and insults. Most village women stood at the edges of the crowd or further up the alleyways, clutching their chadors closely around themselves. No women were seriously injured, as were several men there from both sides. When the gendarmes arrested some of the Askari men and took them to the nearby gendarme station, they did not bother the Askari women.

The only woman directly accosted was Mashd Yusef Amini’s wife, Kaivan. Mashd Yusef was a close Askari supporter and father-in-law of Sayyid Muslem. As Kaivan was attempting to escape to her daughter’s home on the other side of the highway, a young opposition leader pulled off her chador. He believed that her bundle was a Colt revolver; the uncovering proved it was her child’s diaper, as she had proclaimed. “Are you going to pull off my pants, too?” Kaivan shouted in protest of this violation of her modesty and immunity. Kaivan was the only village woman who was an independent opium trader. Apparently, unwomanly behavior in the economic domain suggested the possibility of unwomanly behavior in the political realm.

On November 24, women as well as men walked out to meet the oppositional hajjis, including two women, returning from Mecca. In a flamboyant celebration of political strength, men shouted political slogans against the Askaris and chanted Muharram couplets while marching back to the village. Women followed more decorously and quietly in the rear.

Classic Attitudes

On Tasu‘a, November 29, the eve of the celebration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, a relatively small group of women and children paraded through the alleyway circling the village chanting Muharram couplets. A few women and girls had sometimes tagged after village Muharram processions. But to my knowledge an independent procession of women was unprecedented in the village, and was likely the result of women’s experience in revolutionary marches. The women’s procession remained within the enclosure of the village walls and their chants were restricted to religious couplets. The simultaneous men’s procession marched outside of the village walls and shouted political slogans as well. The contrast between the men’s and women’s processions represented classic attitudes about the proper place and concerns of women.

Suddenly someone reported that Sayyid Ibn Ali had been freed once again. As part of the crowd, some women and girls rushed to the nearby gendarme station. The village men, informed that they must talk with authorities in Shiraz, then told the women to return home.

The next day, Ashura, women went about their usual activities. Some were responsible for cooking commemorative feasts sponsored by their husbands. Women sat on roofs or stood along alleyways or the walls of the mosque courtyard watching the self-flagellation of the men and weeping for the martyrdom of Imam Hussein. The women, excluding those of the beleaguered Askari faction, made their customary afternoon Ashura trip to the cemetery. Women did not go with the large group of men to tear down the walls of an orchard of Sayyid Ibn Ali at noon, nor did they march with men to seize and plant another area of land in the afternoon.

On the third day after Ashura, women watched from the sidelines as the opposition men commemorated the enslavement of the womenfolk of Imam Hussein. As usual, men dressed to play the female parts. In the afternoon, large numbers of opposition men attended the commemorative feast of an Askari man who had joined their side. When they “saw how it was,” those Askari women who supported Sayyid Ibn Ali stayed at home to indicate their displeasure, although they normally attended this annual celebration.

The roles of Aliabad women in community politics retained their indirect, protected, supportive and secondary character even after their participation in the revolution. Men’s perception of them as apolitical did not seem modified either. In explaining to me why women also attend “entrenchments” during political strife, an otherwise thoughtful, perceptive villager said they go to console the wife so she will not be unhappy. He and other men did not appear to be conscious of the impact of the presence of women on decisions for handling the conflict. For most women, their activism during the revolution was in large part a continuity of the existing tradition of women’s political roles. They did not participate in the revolution to improve the position of women. [9] Rather, they shared an understanding of the situation and what should be done about it with their menfolk. After the revolution, they continued to respond to social expectations concerning their political activities.

Political experience can provide the beginning for further political involvement or can come to naught, depending on subsequent opportunity. In the case of Aliabad women, a small attempt to build on experience through continuing autonomous women’s Muharram processions was quickly aborted. One change which did take place was the extension of women’s interest and involvement to the national level, which continued after the revolution. National-level politics was now seen as an appropriate arena for women’s activities under some conditions.

Author’s Note: As in my earlier accounts of this village during the Iranian revolution in MERIP Reports, the names of the village and of persons have been changed. Research and writing have been funded by the Social Science Research Council and the American Council of Learned Societies, the Southwest Asia and North Africa Program of SUNY-Binghamton, and the American Association of University Women. Research would not have been possible without the friendship and assistance of many kind and open-minded Iranians. I am grateful to Anne Betteridge, Susan Davis, Erika Friedl, Patricia Higgins and Julie Peteet for helpful comments.


[1] For more information on Aliabad, see Mary Hooglund (Hegland), “One Village in the Revolution,” MERIP Reports 87 (May 1980), pp. 7-12, and “Religious Ritual and Political Struggle in an Iranian Village,” MERIP Reports 102 (January 1982), pp. 10-17, 23.
[2] For discussion of women’s use of communication in politics, see Susan S. Davis, Patience and Power: Women’s Lives in a Moroccan Village (Cambridge, MA: Schenkman Publishing, 1983), pp. 98-104.
[3] Suad Joseph notes that women’s networks continued to exist in the neighborhood of Burj Hammoud during the conflict of May 1973 in Lebanon. Suad Joseph, “Women and the Neighborhood Street in Borj Hammoud, Lebanon,” in Lois Beck and Nikki Keddie, eds., Women in the Muslim World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), pp. 541-558. These working-class women’s networks which had developed a local-level political culture and served political functions were destroyed during the sectarian reorganization of neighborhoods by right-wing Christian groups after the 1975 war. See Suad Joseph, “Working-Class Women’s Networks in a Sectarian State: A Political Paradox,” American Ethnologist 10 (1983), pp. 1-22. See also Barbara C. Aswad, “Key and Peripheral Roles of Noble Women in a Middle Eastern Plains Village,” Anthropological Quarterly 40 (1967), pp. 139-152.
[4] Barth notes only that men participate in shows of political support at the men’s houses of political leaders during times of confrontation among the Swat Pathan where he conducted research. One wonders who did the cooking. Fredrik Barth, Political Leadership Among Swat Pathans (New York: Humanities Press, 1968), pp. 119-122.
[5] For more information on the social activities of Aliabad women, see Mary Elaine Hegland, “‘Traditional’ Iranian Women: How They Cope,” Middle East Journal 36 (1982), pp. 483-501.
[6] See Lloyd A. and Margaret C. Fallers, “Sex Role in Edremet,” in J. C. Peristiany, ed., Mediterranean Family Structure (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), pp. 243-260.
[7] For more on Aliabad women in the revolution see Mary Hooglund (Hegland), “The Village Women of Aliabad and the Iranian Revolution,” RIPEH 4 (1981), pp. 27-46 and Mary E. Hegland, “Aliabad Women: Revolution as Religious Activity,” in Guity Nashat, ed., Women and Revolution in Iran (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1983), pp. 171-194. For further references on Iranian women, see Patricia J. Higgins, “Women in the Islamic Republic of Iran: Legal, Social and Ideological Changes,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 10 (1985), pp. 477-494.
[8] See also Azar Tabari, “The Enigma of the Veiled Iranian Woman,” MERIP Reports 103 (February 1982), pp. 22-27.
[9] Compare with Juliette Minces, "Women in Algeria," in Beck and Keddie, pp. 159-171.

How to cite this article:

Mary Hegland "Political Roles of Iranian Village Women," Middle East Report 138 (January/February 1986).

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