Persian Voices: Gathering of Women

First, we must ascertain whether from the beginning of Islam to the present day, the gathering of women in one place has been religiously prohibited. This name, association (anjuman) [secret society], is of course a new expression. What harm would it ensue if some women got together and learned good moral behavior from each other? Of course, if it became evident that some corruption of religious or worldly matters is caused by them, then it should be stopped; otherwise, in principle, this should not be a bad development.

—Vakil al- Ru’aya, 12 March 1908

 

Afsaneh, Najmabadi. Women with Mustaches and Men Without Beards: Gender and Sexual Anxieties of Iranian Modernity. Page 209. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 2005. Print.

 

Editor’s Note: Here parliament debates the legality of women’s associations as women based anjomans organized efforts to raise funds for girls’ schools, the National Bank, and the victims of battles in Azerbaijan.