Many Iranians are surprised by the Norwegian folk costume tradition. (Photo from Islamic Republic News Agency)
Iranian media praise Norway’s new female ambassador to Iran and her folk costume as “proper” because she also wears a head scarf. What the newspapers do not mention is that Norwegian women can choose if they want to cover their hair or not.
Last week, when Ambassador Aud Lise Norheim submitted her credentials to the President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, she was wearing a traditional Bunad from Hedemark – with a blue head scarf. Many Norwegian folk costumes have headgear but it is optional to use them.
According to Norwegian Broadcasting Cooperation (NRK), Norheim believes her costume was noticed because she was covered and the only woman present when the new ambassadors submitted their credentials.
In online newspapers many Iranians, mostly men, have commented the pictures and expressed their surprise.
– Iran is concerned about traditions and comments in online newspapers suggest that Iranians are surprised that Norway and Norwegian women have a costume in which women are so covered, Norheim says.
Aud Lise Norheim took over as Norway’s ambassador in Tehran on 4 September. She is the only female ambassador in Iran.
– I feel set back to the fight for women’s rights in the 1970s where we have to fight for positions, says Norheim, but adds that there also are many advantages.
“The covered female Norwegian ambassador.” was last week’s front page news. (Screenshot by: NRK)
She says that she as female ambassador can experience many other aspects of Iran than her male colleagues. She has access to environments where men are not allowed to participate, like cultural and dance events for women.
Last year, Iran announced that they want to appoint a female ambassador for the first time since the revolution in 1979.
Norheim says that President Hassan Rouhani emphasized that Norway had sent a female ambassador.
– He looked at it as a positive and important signal for greater understanding of the area. They are aware that we (Editor’s note: Norway) is waiting for an Iranian women.
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews
Sources: NRK, Iranian Media