TEHRAN, Iran – You see it as soon as you land at the airport: posters telling women to keep their headscarves on. They’re everywhere in Iran; in malls, restaurants, billboards above main highways, and even rest stops in between cities. The hijab remains the official law in Iran.
But these days, all around the country, many women are going about their business hair uncovered. It’s a vivid reminder of the public uproar and anti-government protests that erupted after Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, was killed in police custody in September. She was allegedly arrested for improper wear of her headscarf.
The government brutally cracked down on those protests, killing hundreds of people and jailing thousands, according to rights groups.
What began as anger at the hijab law grew into a bigger movement as Iranians said they were fed up with the regime’s corruption, economic mismanagement and oppression of its citizens. Now, a visible minority of women in Iran are refusing to wear headscarves, in defiant protest against the government and all of its policies.