Farmanfarmian, Settareh

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Advocate for social services in Iran.

Settareh Farmanfarmian, the daughter of a wealthy shahzade (prince), spent her childhood during the 1920s and 1930s in a Persian harem compound in Tehran. She began her education at home, and as a young woman she traveled across Iran, India, and the Pacific to attend the University of Southern California in the United States, where she earned an advanced degree in social work.

Farmanfarmanian returned to Iran in the 1950s and in 1958 founded the Tehran School of Social Work, which she directed until 1979. It was the only independent, private school of social work in Iran. As director, she was responsible for creating social welfare agencies for fieldwork placement of the school's graduates and for supervising their work in private clinics, schools, and health centers throughout Iran. From 1954 to 1958 she served as a United Nations expert for the Middle East, in Baghdad, Iraq. She also founded the Family Planning Association of Iran.

Farmanfarmanian introduced the concept of the community welfare center and provided motivation for various laws, including juvenile court laws and the legislation on the status of women. From 1980 to 1992 she worked for the County of Los Angeles Department of Social Services, Children's Services. She published her autobiography in 1992.

See also Gender: Gender and Health.


Farmanfarmanian, Settareh, with Munker, Mona. Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem through to the Islamic Republic. New York: Anchor Books, 1993.

cherie taraghi