When you think of Iran, you often associate with it veiled women and a female image that is not equal to that of men. As a European woman, who wants to travel to Iran, one should deal with a few things in advance.
How safe is Iran for women?
In general, Iran is considered a fairly safe country to travel, and many women even travel alone without any problems through Iran. Most women who travelled alone report that Iran has been experienced by them to be one of the safest travel destinations.
As a Western woman, one has to expect to be stared at in public. Mostly, this gaze has to do with interest and curiosity. We advise you to ignore the stare and, above all, not to pay too much attention to it.
Iranian cities have their own tourist police stations, which you can contact if you need help or information. In larger cities the sight of foreign women traveling alone or in groups is more common and you are greeted by locals and families friendly. Nevertheless, one should abide by a few rules.
Not all women in Iran cover themselves so much
How to dress
According to the present Islamic rules, women have to cover all body parts (and hair) except face and hands. Religious women in Iran usually wear a chador, a black robe that covers the body from head to toe. Most women, however, prefer to wear a kind of coat, the manteau, which can be long, short, tight, loose, and in different colors (but not too short or too tight). In any case, the manteau must not be shorter than 10cm above the knee. The shawl women use to cover their head can also be colorful. In fact, the clothing of women in Iran has a great variety of shape and color. Many women prefer to wear black because it is more formal, especially at work.
Foreign women need to cover their hair with a scarf or cloth and should wear long and loose blouses with long sleeves. Pants and skirts must cover the body to the ankles. Modern Iranian girls prefer to wear jeans. Both sandals, boots and other shoes are okay.
No body contact with men
Men and women do not shake hands when greeting each other, they only greet each other verbally. In the bus, the woman is sitting next to another woman, her husband or alone. In the subways there are compartments for women, which you don’t have to use.
Any physical contact between a man and a woman is forbidden in public and should not be done even as a foreigner.