Educating Girls in Early Twentieth-Century Iran: A Study of a Baha'i School

Authors

  • SIYAMAK ZABIHI-MOGHADDAM

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of History at Western Washington University
      Siyamak Zabihi-Moghaddam is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Western Washington University.
    Search for more papers by this author

Siyamak Zabihi-Moghaddam is Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of History at Western Washington University.

Abstract

In the first decades of the twentieth century, the Baha'is of Iran were actively engaged in establishing schools for girls. This article provides a case study of one such school in a provincial town: Sa‘adat-i banat in Najafabad. The study sheds light on how the Baha'i community and the wider public responded to the school and on the nature of its impact. The case highlights the challenges that surrounded schooling of girls and illustrates the greater readiness of the Baha'is to support female education compared with the majority Muslim population. What made the crucial difference was not their material and human resources but rather the values that they espoused. The study also shows that in spite of their status as a stigmatized community, the Baha'is were able to make an important contribution to promoting girls' schooling. Among the Baha'is, the experience with the school contributed to their commitment to female education.

Ancillary