Women's Sports in Pahlavi Era


Reza Shah Kabir High School Basketball Team- Tehran 1964

Girls Basketball Team - Tehran 1964


Women's Basketball Team, Taj Club - Tehran

Women's Basketball Team - Tehran


Women's Basketball Team - Tehran

Women's Basketball Team - Tehran


IRANA Women's Basketball Team - Tehran

IRANA Women's Basketball Team - National Club Champs


IRANA & Ararat Women's Basketball Teams - Tehran

IRANA & Ararat Teams - National Club Championship Game

>Women's Basketball Team

Women's Basketball Team

Basketball Star: Mahin Korehchian

Basketball Star: Mahin Korehchian

Basketball Star: Mahin Korehchian

Mahin Korehchian

Mahin Korehchian in action

Mahin Korehchian in action

Basketball Star: Shahla Rohani

Shahla Rohani

Club Basketball

Club Basketball

Basketball Team in Tokyo 1974

Men's & Women's Basketball Team - Tokyo 1974



Girls Basketball Team - Khuzestan

Girls Basketball Team - Khuzestan


Women's Basketball Team

Women's Basketball Team

Girls Basketball Team - Tehran

Girls Basketball Team



Girls Basketball Team - Tehran

Girls Basketball Team


Girls Basketball Team - Tehran

Girls Basketball Team



Girls Basketball Team: Farah Diba wearing the #10 jersey - Tehran

Girls Basketball Team - Tehran 1950s


Tehran Women's Handball Team

Tehran Women's Handball Team - 1977


Tehran Women's Handball Team

Iranian League Handball Champions



Swimmers Golnaz Sadri & Nooshafarin

Sister Swimmers Golnaz & Nooshafarin Sadri - 1967 Ettela'at Banovan


National Swimming Team

Iran national swimming team - Asian Games 1974


From left:  Haleh Vafaei, Shirin Firouzabadian, Linda Firouzabadian, Nastaran Hassanizadeh, Leslie Firouzabadian, Farideh Pourabbas, Nastaran Hassanizadeh, Tonia Valioghli - National swimming team 1974

Iran national swimming team - Asian Games 1974


Iran national swimming team

Iran national swimming team

National swimming team members Shirin Firouzabadian, Farideh Pourabbas, Leslie Firouzabadian and Zinat Movaid posing with the Japanese gold winner Yoshimi Nishigawa - Asian Games 1974<

Iran national swimming team - Asian Games 1974


National Swimming Team

Iran national swimming team


National Swimming Team

Iran national swimming team


Swimming Team

Girls Swimming Team


Swimming Team

Swimming Team


Teenage Swimming Sensation Tonia Valioghli

Teenage Swimming Sensation Tonia Valioghli



Tonia Valioghli Tonia Valioghli Tonia Valioghli



Swimming Sensation Tonia Valioghli Tonia Valioghli in Kayhan Varzeshi

Tonia Valioghli


Nadia Valioghli

Nadia Valioghli

Nastaran Hassanizadeh

Nastaran Hassanizadeh

Golrokh Moezi

Golrokh Moezi

Golrokh Moezi

Golrokh Moezi (Center)

Golrokh Moezi

Golrokh Moezi

Zinat Movaid, Tonia Valioghli, Nastaran Hassanizadeh

Zinat Movaid, Tonia Valioghli, Nastaran Hassanizadeh

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Zinat Movaid

Nastaran Hassanizadeh & Tonia Valioghli

Nastaran Hassanizadeh, Tonia Valioghli


National Swimming Team

Nastaran Hassanizadeh


From left to right: Farideh Pourabbas, Nastaran Hassani, Afsaneh Rayhani

Farideh Pourabbas, Nastaran Hassanizadeh, Afsaneh Rayhani


Nastaran Hassanizadeh & Afsaneh Rayhani

Nastaran Hassanizadeh congratulates Afsaneh Rayhani


Linda & Shireen Firouzabadian

Linda & Shireen Firouzabadian (Half American)


Shireen Firouzabadian

Shireen Firouzabadian


From left to right: Tonia Valioghli, Linda Firouzabadian, Haleh Vafaei

Tonia Valioghli, Linda Firouzabadian, Haleh Vafaei


Haleh Vafaei,Tonia Valioghli

Haleh Vafaei,Tonia Valioghli


Minoo Forouzesh

Minoo Forouzesh


Minoo Forouzesh

Minoo Forouzesh


Minoo Forouzesh

Minoo Forouzesh


Girls Swimming Competition

Girls Swimming Competition


Diver Afsar Jafari

Diver Afsar Jafari


Female Diver

Female Diver - Amjadieh Stadium


Afsar Jafari

Afsar Jafari - Female Diver & Gymnast


Female Skydiver

Female Skydiver


Female Skydiver

Female Skydivers


Track and field Competition

Track and Field Competition


Track and field Competition

Track and field Competition


Track and field Star Akhtar Ahmadi

Track and field star Akhtar Ahmadi


Track and field Star Maryam Sedarati

Track and field star Maryam Sedarati


Track and field Star Zahra Hosseini, 1975

Track and field star Zahra Hosseini, 1975


Wome's Gymnastics Team

Women's Gymnastics Team


Girls Gymnastics Team

Girls Gymnastics Team


Girls Gymnastics Team

Girls Gymnastics Team


Women's Gymnastics Team

Women's Gymnastics Team


Mahin Shahabi

Mahin Shahabi - Women's Gymnastics Team


Azar Davaloo-Ghajar - Women's Gymnastics Team

Azar Davaloo-Ghajar - Women's Gymnastics Team


Women's Gymnastics

Women's Gymnastics


Women's Gymnastics Team

Women's Gymnastics Team


International gymnasts compete in Tehran

International gymnasts compete in Tehran - 1977


Women's Table Tennis Team

Women's Table Tennis Team


Women's Table Tennis Team

Women's Table Tennis Team - 1972 Asian Games


Women's Table Tennis Team

Women's Table Tennis Team


Mina Kelishadi

Table Tennis star Mina Kelishadi


Carmen Galestian

Table Tennis star Carmen Galestian


Table Tennis star Niloufar Mohajeri

Table Tennis star Niloufar Mohajeri


Tehran Table Tennis stars  Tehran Table Tennis stars

Tehran Table Tennis stars



Female Athletes

Female Athletes at an official celebration



Female Athletes

Female Athletes celebrating Shah's Birthday - Amjadieh Stadium 1970s


Female Athletes

Female Athletes celebrating Shah's Birthday - Amjadieh Stadium 1970s


Female Athletes

Female Athletes celebrating the coronation - Amjadieh Stadium 1967


Schoolgirls

Schoolgirls greeting the Queen - 1961


Female Athletes

Female Athletes - Tabriz Stadium 1970s


Kermanshah Female Athletes

Kermanshah Female Athletes - 1970s


Kermanshah Volleyball Team

Kermanshah Volleyball Team - 1970s


Women's Volleyball Team Tehran

Women's Volleyball Team Tehran - 1973


Nursing school volleyball team

Nursing school volleyball team


Women's Volleyball

Women's Volleyball


Women's Volleyball

Women's Volleyball


Women's Volleyball

Women's Volleyball


Women's Volleyball

Women's Volleyball - Iran vs South Korea



Iran vs South Kores Vollyball


Iran vs South Kores Vollyball



Volleyball Game

Volleyball Game



Volleyball Game

Volleyball - Taj vs Saipa



Volleyball Game

Volleyball - Taj vs Afsar



Volleyball Tournament with Turkey

Volleyball Tournament with Turkey


Women's Volleyball   Homa Volleyball Team

Women's Volleyball



Iran vs South Korea Volleyball

Iran vs South Korea Volleyball


Women's Volleyball Team

Women's Volleyball Team


Women's Volleyball Team

Women's Volleyball Team


Women's Volleyball

Women's Volleyball


Women's Volleyball

S. Korea Women's National Volleyball Team


Women's Volleyball

Iran Women's National Volleyball Team


Women's Volleyball  Women's Volleyball

Women's Volleyball


Mari Tet - Captain of Vollyball Team

Mari Tet - Captain of Vollyball Team - 1960s


Women's National Volleyball Team

Women's National Volleyball Team


Martial Arts athletes

Martial arts athletes


Martial Arts athletes

Martial arts athletes


Judo Competition

Judo Competition


Donya Varzesh Magazine

Sport magazine featuring male & female athletes on the front cover


Cycling Competition

Cycling Competition


High school student-athletes

High school student-athletes


Female Rider: Golnar Bakhtiar

Golnar Bakhtiar


Equestrian Competition at Aryamehr Stadium. Golnar Bakhtiar

Golnar Bakhtiar - Equestrian Competition, Tehran


Female Rider: Pouri Banaei

Pouri Banaei in riding gear


Fencing Champions: Top: Maryam Shariatzadeh, Mahvash Shafahi, Bottom: Maryam Achak, Jila Almasi, Gitty Majiyan - Asian Games

Fencing Champions - Asian Games

Fencing Champion Jila Almasi competed in the foil events at the 1976 Summer Olympics

Fencing Champion Jila Almasi

Female Figure Skaters

Female Figure Skaters


Female skiers on the cover of an Iranian magazine

Female Skiers


Ping Pong Players

Ping Pong Players


Sporting Goods advertisement

Sporting Goods advertisement


Iranian Cheerleaders Iranian Cheerleaders

Cheerleaders


Girls Soccer Team

Girls Soccer Team


Iran & Australia girls soccer team - Aryamehr Stadium

Iran & Australia girls soccer team - Aryamehr Stadium


Women in Aryamehr Stadium

Women in Aryamehr Stadium


Taj Girls Soccer Club

Taj Girls Soccer Team


Taj Girls Soccer Club

Taj Girls Soccer Team


Taj Girls Soccer Club

Taj Girls vs Deyhim Team


Persepolis Girls Soccer Team

Persepolis Girls Soccer Team


Girls Soccer Team

Girls Soccer Team


Women's Basketball Team - Tehran

Women's Basketball Team - Tehran


Women's Handball Team - Tehran

Women's Handball Team - Tehran


Male & Female Athletes

Male & Female football players at an official celebration - Amjadieh Stadium


Women at the stadium

Women at the stadium


Male & Female Tennis Players

Male & Female Tennis Players


Male & Female Tennis Players

Male & Female Tennis Players


Male & Female Table Tennis Players

Male & Female Table Tennis Players


Male & Female Handball Players

Male & Female Handball Players


Student Athletes

Student Athletes


Male & Female Athletes

Male & Female players heading to the Seoul games - Shaheen Rezai, Zari Husseini & Marayam Sedarati


Male & Female Athletes - Seoul Asian Games, 1970s

Male & Female players - Seoul Asian Games, 1970s


Iranian athletes - 1974 Asian Games

Iranian athletes - 1974 Asian Games


Female athletes

Female athletes - 1974 Asian Games



1974 Asian tournament stamp  1974 Asian tournament stamp  1974 Asian tournament stamp

Tehran 1974 Asian tournament stamps




Actress Mahnaz  Acrtess Aram    Acrtess Sepideh  Acrtess Marjan

Actesses Mahnaz, Aram, Sepideh, and Marjan promoting women's sports


Female Football Player

Cover of an Iranian Weekly Magazine


Farah Diba

Farah Diba marching - Amjadieh Stadium, Tehran


Shahbanou & Friends at Caspain Sea

Shahbanou & Friends at Caspain Sea


Farah Pahlavi Farah Pahlavi

Avid Skier Shahbanou Farah




International Competition

1958 Tokyo Olympics
First Int. Event: competed in track and field (No medals)

1964 Tokyo Olympics
Nazli Bayat Makou (Athletics)
Juliette Geverkof (Athletics)
Simin Safamehr (Athletics)
Jamileh Sorouri (Gymnastics)

1966 Bangkok Asian Games
Volleyball bronze medal

1974 Tehran Asian Games
Fencing: Women's team foil gold:
Maryam Achak
Jila Almasi
Giti Mohebban (Women's individual foil Bronze)
Mahvash Shafaei (Women's individual foil Silver)
Maryam Shariatzadeh

1976 Montréal Olympics
Maryam Achak (Fencing)
Gitty Mohebban (Fencing)
Mahvash Shafaie (Fencing)




Sports or sexy legs?
No Iranian woman ever medaled in the Olympics before the revolution. Women participated for the first time at the 1958 Tokyo Asian games in athletics. The women's volleyball team won the first bronze medal at the 1966 Asian games in Bangkok. Iran's best performance at the international level was at the 1974 Asian Games in Tehran. The fencing foil team won a gold medal and an individual silver and a bronze medal.

The sports programming for girls and women were minimal at best during the Pahlavi Era. The main objective of the women's sports program was to convey an image of modernity. Schoolgirls wearing sexy miniskirts and shorts marched in official celebrations and government parades. They were also used to greet foreign dignitaries. The public relations arm of the government focused on showing the world the sexy silky smooth legs of Iranian women. Perhaps this wasn't such a bad idea, in retrospect, because we are now perceived by the rest of the world as the most violent people on the planet.

Schoolgirls  wearing mini skirts greet President Nixon and First Lady Patricia Nixon at Tehran Mehrabad Airport, 05/30/1972 - Image courtesy of the Nixon Presidential Library

Schoolgirls wearing mini skirts greet President Nixon at Tehran Mehrabad Airport - 05/30/1972,


Video
Pahlavi Promotional Video (In French and dubbed in Persian)


Related Links
The Women's Movement-Haleh Esfandiari
Women's Sports
Iran Women


Image Credits: All images are from Iranian newspaper & magazine clippings which are now in the public domain. Most of the images were enhanced by sharpening, adjusting the saturation and color balance.




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