On Wednesday, 17th of “Dey”, 1314 [January 8th 1936], my grandfather Reza Shah I, arrived at the new School with his wife (Queen Mother – my grandmother) and two of his daughters: none of the ladies in the gathering wore a veil. Four days prior to this occasion, instructions had been issued that the girls must leave off their chadors (veils). My grandmother distributed diplomas to the feminine graduates of the Faculty of Medicine and other schools…
My grandfather responded to the remarks of Iran’s leading feminist, Mrs. Tarbiyat as follows:
- I am exceedingly pleased to observe, that as a result of knowledge and learning, women have come alive to their condition, rights, and privileges. As Mrs. Tarbiyat has just stated, the women of this country, previously isolated from society, were unable to demonstrate their intrinsic abilities, and to display their inherent capabilities. I should say that they were unable to do their part and render their proper share of service and sacrifice to their dear homeland.
- Now, however, they are going to enjoy social advantages other than that of their outstanding privilege of maternity. We should not forget that up to this time one-half of the population of the country was not taken into account. No statistics of the female population were taken. It seemed as though women were some other type of individuals who did not form a part of the population of Iran.
- It is indeed regrettable that there was only one occasion on which a census of women could be taken; when the country was in sore straits for food enough to feed its people. Then, and only then, a census of the female population would be made for the purpose of estimating the supply of food required.
- I do not like ostentation and I have no wish to express pleasure about the measures which have been taken. I am not trying to point out contrasts between today and the old days but you ladies should consider this as a great day. You should avail yourselves of the opportunities which you now have to improve your country.
- It is my firm belief that in order to bring progress and prosperity to our own country we should all work and work wholeheartedly. We must work on behalf of education. Although education is improving as a result of the efforts of government officials, you must never be neglectful of the dire need of the country for activity and work. Better and longer strides should be taken every day for the happiness and well-being of the people.
- My sisters and daughters! Now that you have entered society and moved ahead for your own happiness and the welfare of your homeland you must bear in mind that it is your duty to work. The future happiness of the country is in your hands. You are to be the educators of the next generation. Be good teachers so that you may educate good pupils.
- I expect you learned women who are now becoming aware of your rights, privileges and duties to serve your motherland, to be content and economical, and to become accustomed to saving and to avoiding luxuries and extravagance…