Headscarves off in Tehran's first female-only park
Agence France Presse
18-Jun-2008 (16 comments)

The mother and daughter lay out their picnic on the lawn and lie in the hot spring sun as a group of other women jog past them in spaghetti-strapped vests and lycra shorts.

An unusual sight indeed in Iran, where all women are obliged to cover their hair and body contours in public to obey the country's strict Islamic dress code.

But last month the Tehran municipality opened the "Mothers' Paradise" park in the upmarket north of the city to create a male-free zone every day of the week except Friday.

Built on hills and filled with lush evergreens, it was deemed an ideal spot for any park. It is now surrounded by iron sheets up to four metres (13 feet) high to keep out prying eyes.

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A sign of things yet to come

by javaneh29 on

Personally I think this is very worrying. It is a sign of things yet to come....further segregation between men and women. So how are the different genders supposed to learn about each other and relationships (generaly) with the opposite gender. Surely this ony serves to increase the misunderstandings between men and women and with this will come more problems later in marriage and an increase in 'crimes' when men and women are forced to meet 'illlegally'. And who will suffer most in these situations ... women! Suprise suprise ... Iran trully is a mans world.

But I feel sorry for the women back home who have to be covered in hgh temperatures and are unable to enjoy the basic freedom of  self expression. However if I were still there I might be tempted to go into the sunshine without my head scarf just to feel the sunshine on my skin.

It brings back this memory:  way back in 1977 going to the Caspian with my husband for a few days for a break from the heat of  Teheran. I decided to wear a swim suit, it was red! And the first I had bought myself.  I was 17 years old.  I recall being in the communal showers (segregated of course) where a group of women shouted abuse at me for not wearing a chador in the water and on the beach.  One of them even slapped me! But the interesting thing was that I showed less of my body than they had ... they wore light coloured chadors in the water which became transparant when wet! And honestly some of them had less on than i did.

Ok that was then when women could dress more or less how they wanted, so what can we expect now under this regime? Women back home are going to see this park as a gift.


Rosie T.

Party Girl, I became quite taken with this issue after our

by Rosie T. on

discussion and then read the pictorial news item on it then on the home page yesterday.  When you get a chance please check out both of them. 




Rosie T.

Thank you so much, Aaj,

by Rosie T. on

yu gave me lots of valuable information.



To Rosie; adding a few words to Part-girl's note...

by aaj sr (not verified) on

They have started women hospital (even though there are not enough specialist or doctors to accommodate all or at least ten per cent of patients for next couple of decades) and there are 8 hotels under construction or renovation for women (there is not enough expertise to run these places). We know that there are women taxi drivers (a few women bus drivers) and there are separate wagons in buses/trains for women. The entrance to most if not all government offices are separated from men's entrances.
There are plan under way to seperate the offices where men and women are working together.
We know that women cannot go to sport stadiums watching males playing games (you may have seen the movie, where women dress as men...) You have heard that man cannot run hair -dressing saloon and vise versa, and men cannot run women boutiques and vise versa. Of course there is no need to mention that coed swimming pool is biggest crime in their dictionary,at the seaside, women can swim with full body coverage.
there are few other similar apartied, segregation scenarios that I can not recall but, the latest story is if they do not like your dress (if coat or sleeves are short), or men's hair cut not to the code! they will ask where you bought your dress or where you have got your hair cut and they will close down the shop who violated the so-called code!!.
A park in northern Tehran, a city with population of 12 to 15 million, (more than half are women) what would be the benefit?
As far as I am concerned, if this was located in southern part of Tehran where the poverty is very high and facilities are extremely limited, I would have like it more.
to sum up: The system started to change the society in a very gradual slow speed and in few years you would see a total different society, something similar to Saudi or Teleban style. Their gradual, systematic approach is very smart. Obviously, they could not change the system over night, due to the fact, that people would not accept it nor they have the resources and equipments; for that, they have started with the school books, therefore they are brain washing the kids and when they are grown up (same as Madrese style in Pakistan/Afghanistan), they are ready to change without any extra efforts and by then, the system is ready too.
To make the long story short, If it was me, contrary to your suggestion I would boycott the park all together and make damn sure that others follow suite.

Rosie T.

Don't ask me, baby-joon. Ask NP. And anyway, NP, I don't think

by Rosie T. on

Party Girl's THAT serious, are you, PG?.  I mean after all at the end of the day, she IS a party girl  :o)

Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez


by Natalia Alvarado-Alvarez on

You mean to tell me that Niloufar Parsi is a guy?

Solh va Doosti


Niloufar Parsi

Party Girl jan!

by Niloufar Parsi on

Apologies for the gay intrusion here!

Humour was my way of registering my objection to the park thing for the same reason you had mentioned: where is gender segregation going to go next?

My biggest fear about all this reactionary segregation is the impact it has on boys and girls who grow up without knowing what the other sex is like. They are then expected to marry, live with and/or work with the other sex as adults. Lots of unhappy families in the offing with this project.


Rosie T.

Ah, I know you Iranian men. You always have to be on top...

by Rosie T. on

even when you're on the bottom.  Top dog, you know.  Dogs pf love, dogs of war, etc. etc.

But PARTY GIRL is a very serious girl.  And I respect her a lot.  And rhis IS a very serious subject.  So let's not hog the blog with silliness.  Better to hog jj's blog.  IMHO.  Silliness is certainly no stranger to him..


Niloufar Parsi


by Niloufar Parsi on

I insist on being on top (of the page that is)!

Rosie T.

Parsi, you're not following me around are you? LOL

by Rosie T. on

Happy Gay Day.


Niloufar Parsi

Gay park!

by Niloufar Parsi on

imagine: they would have to close this down too if gay marriage were legalised in Iran...

or perhaps they could export the park idea to California? 


Rosie T.

Yes, I understand. It's DEFINITELY a double-edged sword...

by Rosie T. on

And needless to say, they hold the sword.

but you gotta go bike riding, you gotta get some sun without that stupid thing on your head.

You said something crucial:  IF they can.  I don't know.  It's a complicated situation.  They've already done so much segregation, in the end either they CAN or they CAN'T complete it. In the meantime I personally would go for sunning in the park.

But I wish more people would respond to these newsfeeds.  I'd like to gwr more input, but they don't really seem to be taking off the way people thought they would.  Too bad.



Mothers what?

by greengage (not verified) on

So why are the women photographed in the park still wearing scarves with only one appearing to take the thing off?



by Dariushagha on





من اول ایرانی هستم.

Party Girl


by Party Girl on

Yes, Rosie.  Take what you can is the good part of this.  To have a space where women can walk and exercise without the Islamic cover is really good.  This, however, hands the IRI authorities something they have wanted to do from day one, to separate men and women. 

They have been successful with this with primary and secondary schools, swimming pools, and beaches, and have tried it with university classrooms and stadiums and concert halls to varying success levels.  When there is a park just for women, it means that one day soon they may try to direct and divert all female park traffic inside regular Tehran parks to female-only-parks if they can.  Segregating and separating women has been a long-pursued goal of IRI and a women-only-park is worrisome in that respect.

Rosie T.

Why? What do you think's wrong with it?

by Rosie T. on

Don't you have to take what you can get?

"You can't always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get....something or other...