Prior to the 1979 uprising that overthrew the Shah, women’s rights in Iran had improved. Education was free for boys and girls, many women attended college and held political office, and they had the right to divorce and seek custody of children. The legal age of marriage has increased from 15 to 18, as Evie Magazine points out.
However, Ayatollah Khomeini’s rule was accompanied by growing restrictions, such as requiring women from the age of 9 to wear the hijab in public. Women who refused risked corporal punishment or imprisonment. Atwood was inspired by the situation in Iran to imagine the conservative dress codes of Gilead women. In addition to having to wear red, maids are required to cover their hair on the inside with white caps and white caps on the outside.
Similarly, the rights of Iranian housewives were severely curtailed in the 1980s, with laws on divorce, inheritance, child custody, and sexual assault redesigned to be heavily in favor of their husbands. Child marriage and polygamy have become legal, while access to abortion and contraception has since become severely restricted in Iran due to stagnating birth rates in the country – a problem that is on the rise. origin of the creation of Gilead. The end of Margaret Atwood’s novel also mentions both Iran and Gilead in the endnotes, at a fictional future conference of historians that takes place in 2195, one that describes the two states as “monotheocracies”. .