Life as a Single Woman in Iran


If you are a single woman in Iran, you still face challenges with acceptance from society. The traditional expectation that you must live with your parents or husband is supported by clerics and popular politics.

Where do these single women come from? A lot of them decide to obtain university educations instead of marrying and/or have divorced from their husbands. Over the last ten years, this has accumulated to a 60% increase in university enrollment and 135% increase in divorces. Iranian women are fighting against society’s expectations of womanhood and seeking to carve out their own definition. Armed with education, they begin to see success in their own terms and ambitions. They enjoy independence unlike their mothers ever did.

However, this freedom comes with a price. For the time being, they must lie and pretend to be wives of husbands who are studying abroad. This way they are allowed apartment rentals from landlords and real estate agents.

Although many parents of these new class of single women in Iran support their daughters, larger society still does not. The government encourages quick, cheap, and easy marriages in an effort to keep traditional virtues of motherhood and role of women intact. They even go as far as giving out loans for marriage. Unfortunately for them, their plan has backfired and is dubbed as the “fast food marriage plan”.

When do you think Iranian women can openly show they are living alone?  Will it be another ten years from now? Sooner? Later?


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