Girls' primary and secondary education in Iran has long been minimized, with laws and policies denying them quality and equal schooling. In the past, the compulsory attendance of only six years has not been enforced, especially when girls are married off or made to work instead. Schools have been segregated by gender, religious study is required, and women have been cut off from subjects that the government deems unsuitable, whether in social studies or STEM. Textbooks promoted inequality by neglecting to show images of girls engaging in educational activities. Discrimination was maintained through segregation, teaching methods, curricula and stereotypes upholding Sharia law.
In the past few decades, Iranian women have had increased access to university education. They dominated college entrance exams and were attending universities in large numbers. Education had been empowering for young women as many delayed marriage for university attendance. Despite this, issues remained around gender segregation, limited fields of study and securing a job; unemployment rates for women were twice that of men.