people who had lost their belief “in the unseen power of God to solve life’s problems.”But most experts agree that nothing has contributed as much as a deep-rooted awakeningin Iranian women that is altering traditional attitudes toward marriage, relationships,careers and, generally speaking, women’s place in what is still an overwhelmingly patriarchal society.Twenty percent of Iranian women are employed or actively looking for jobs, according togovernment figures, compared with 7 percent in the first years after the 1979 IslamicRevolution. Female undergraduate students outnumber men in Iran’s universities almosttwo to one.“This economic freedom has had an effect on the behavior of women in the home,” saidSaeid Madani, a member of the Iranian Sociological Association. “In the past, if ahousewife left her home, she would go hungry; now there is a degree of possibility of finding a job and earning an income.”But something more is at work than simple economics, many experts say. “Women havefound the courage to break with tradition and say no to the past,” said Azardokht Mofidi, apsychiatrist and the author of several books on psychoanalysis. “They are no longerprepared to put up with hardships in marriage, and their expectations have risen toinclude equality in relationships.”Nazanin, a woman nearing 50 who has been divorced twice, has experienced the changein attitudes. Married at age 18, during the politically charged years of the IslamicRevolution and the Iran-Iraq war, Nazanin divorced two years later in the face of asociety that still held firm to the Persian adage that a woman enters her husband’s home wearing a white wedding dress and leaves it in her white funeral clothes.“For years, I hid the fact,” said Nazanin, relaxing without a hijab in the modest, sparsely decorated apartment where she lives with her adult son. “For a while, my family told theneighbors stories and lies, saying he had gone to work abroad. At work, because I was still young, I kept wearing my ring and didn’t tell anybody.” After she broke up with her second husband 14 years ago, her religious parents were onceagain mortified, but friends were more accepting. In the years since, Nazanin says she has
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